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Ukrainian auto business: results of 2022 and plans for 2023


Last year was difficult for every Ukrainian. It was no less difficult for the Ukrainian auto business. The team of the Institute of Car Market Research talked with partners — those who managed to persevere, save jobs and continue to work to support the economy of Ukraine. We publish the main conclusions of 2022 and plans for 2023 from practitioners of the Ukrainian automotive business.

Who did you talk to?

  • is an auction of used cars that were previously leased. They work in Ukraine and Poland. Vadym Novakivskyi, director.
  • CarBazar is a Lviv car market. A place where sellers and buyers of used cars meet. Oleksiy Lenyo, director.
  • Lube Auto Khmelnytskyi is a commission platform for the sale of used and turnkey cars from abroad. Maksym Vikalyuk, director.
  • West Auto Hub is a platform for importing automobiles. All services needed for registration of cars in one location. Yulia Rykovska, CEO.
  • AUTO.RIA is Ukraineʼs largest marketplace of verified cars. Ostap Novytskyi, analyst.

What changed with the start of a full-scale invasion?

ExLeasingCar: In March, sales stopped, in April "zero customs clearance" began to work, and all cars that were available in Poland were sold. It is interesting that even cars that were already cleared by customs in Ukraine were sold — perhaps due to the fact that prices in Europe have risen.

CarBazar: We didnʼt work for several months, then we started work. At first, sales were insignificant, but after the introduction of "zero" customs clearance, they increased enormously. After its cancellation, sales fell, started to recover, fell again due to massive missile strikes, and in general, the trend can be described as constant fluctuations, because buyers are very responsive to all the events that happen in the country.

Dear Auto Khmelnytskyi: In the first months of the war, sales were very low, the only impetus was zero customs clearance. Many cars were brought to order. During this period, all the cars on the site were sold, but after the tax refund, sales stopped.

West Auto Hub : With the start of a full-scale war, we had to adapt to new realities. The main task was to keep the team, find new ways and solutions for our business, and also help the army.

AUTO.RIA: We realized that we cannot stop under any circumstances.

What are the main events in 2022?

ExLeasingCar: Zero customs clearance, which gave Ukrainians the opportunity to buy good cars and pay nothing to the budget. When there was no fuel, people began to buy more electric cars. And also many cars began to be brought from China.

CarBazar: Abolition of duty. People were able to buy the car they dreamed of much cheaper. The prices were several thousand lower.

Lube Auto Khmelnytskyi: Zero customs clearance. Many cars were bought in the USA, most of them managed to be brought during the period of the law. We managed to satisfy the demand of buyers.

West Auto Hub : Zero customs clearance. We saw how important mobility is and how much demand there is for cars, despite the fuel crisis and the war. We had many plans for 2022 — the launch of a franchise, presence in new regions, but the main event that happened this year fundamentally changed them. At first, business almost completely stopped, but then zero customs clearance gave an impetus.

AUTO.RIA: There have been many events on the Ukrainian car market: changes in customs clearance rules, introduction of electronic documents, suspension of service centers, impossibility of traveling abroad for men. It is not necessary to single out one event, the most important thing is that in the vortex of all these, in most negative events, we were able to persevere.

What do you expect in 2023 on the market?

ExLeasingCar: Demand in a country where dozens of people live is as it was and will remain, only at a much lower level, until the war is over. Sales, which are currently very weak, will slowly recover as people adjust to the new circumstances. You shouldnʼt expect "pre-war" indicators, but this will be a market where cars will be bought and sold one way or another.

CarBazar: First of all, Victory. The demand for cars will grow along with the success of the Armed Forces, because Ukrainians will have more faith, hope and confidence in the future. We expect a review of customs clearance conditions — an adequate payment so that Ukrainians can be allowed to buy cars from Europe, because the current rates are too high, considering the situation in the country.

Dear Avto Khmelnytskyi: It is very difficult to predict anything. For example, initially, during the fuel crisis, buyers were massively interested in electric cars. Today, the demand for them has fallen due to the unstable situation in the energy sector. Sales of gasoline, diesel and gas cars are also small, but the demand for diesel cars is increasing due to their low fuel consumption. Most likely, people will go back to hybrid cars.

West Auto Hub : Our victory. Recovery and development of the economy in general and the automobile market in particular. We would also like certain changes in the customs clearance system to make it more accessible, as well as civilized and transparent. And we are waiting for customs clearance in the smartphone.

AUTO.RIA: We do not give up, we continue to develop reliability, one of the key values for our users.

What are the plans for 2023?

ExLeasingCar: We will work as we worked in Ukraine. However, the strategic goal of selling cars in Poland also remains. We already have the first sales in this country, regular customers, as well as a bought site that will start working in February 2023.

CarBazar: We have very good customer service. We do everything to make it comfortable for both the buyer and the seller. Loyal prices and a small commission. We are customer-oriented and try to be helpful in difficult times.

Dear Auto Khmelnytskyi: We try to negotiate with car owners and lessors. Everyone understands each other in a difficult situation. If the car is not sold for a long time, we start talking with the owner about lowering the price. We are looking for a place to post a sale ad. In general, somewhere they dropped the price, somewhere they agreed, and in this way we are trying to survive.

West Auto Hub : We are currently seeing a lull in the passenger car segment, but we are working with other types of vehicles. Due to the change in logistics routes, the demand for commercial vehicles, as well as for agricultural machinery and trucks, decreased. It is difficult to plan anything in the conditions of war, but we definitely plan not to stop. From a global perspective, this is the companyʼs entry into the international market: we are starting to work in 4 EU countries.

AUTO.RIA: As it so happened that we are part of the car market, and a large one, I will share plans that will help change this market for the better. Soon we plan to open the first car inspection center in Vinnytsia, and in 2023 to scale this project across Ukraine. Beta tests of the updated AUTO.RIA application and website will be available soon. We continue to help the front, collect cars for the Armed Forces. Also, there was, is and will be free publication of sales ads for car owners.

What advice would you give to business colleagues?

ExLeasingCar: Against the background of war, if we are alive and well, then we have the strength to continue business. If someone has suffered losses, they can always be repaired, albeit slowly. We have to do what we are good at and what works well. It is necessary to benefit people, because business exists and brings money when it benefits people.

CarBazar: It is definitely necessary to continue working. Support our economy, pay taxes. A car is not a means of transportation, but a necessity in our time. We recommend companies that sell cars to set a lower salary, to give customers the opportunity to buy a car. Set a lower price, but sell more cars. Try to work for quality. Do not drive cars that have been heavily "beaten" or have other hidden defects. Be more open, more honest, and people will come back to you and recommend you.

Dear Auto Khmelnytskyi: I recommend that you negotiate with the lessors of your sites and hold back, because there is a delayed demand. People have money for a car, but postpone the purchase until better times.

AUTO.RIA: If the company continues to work, it does not mean that it continues to work at the same pace and growth rate as it was before the start of a full-scale war. Itʼs difficult and difficult for everyone, you have to sacrifice something, go "in the negative" somewhere, but you definitely donʼt have to stop. You canʼt give up, you have to remember that itʼs definitely harder for someone — those who are on the front lines. When they return to the liberated territory of Ukraine, there should be no less than before the war. Business, taxes and work are important. This is the most important motivation there can be: constant movement forward.

Despite everything, we live, the economy works. On all graphs of activities on the car market, we see not zeros — and this is already a big victory. Car businesses are working, paying taxes, saving jobs. We are united and working for one common goal. Glory to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and glory to Ukraine!

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