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Cars from China instead of Russian ones, electric trucks and utility vehicles: how was ComAutoTrans 2023 in Kyiv?

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Last week, the first offline profile automotive event since the start of the full-scale war took place in Kyiv — the ComAutoTrans exhibition. The team of the Institute of Car Market Research, together with its partners, the West Auto Hub company, presented its activities there. Experts highlighted the main trends of the modern automotive industry in Ukraine.

The exhibition was devoted to commercial transport: special and specialized vehicles, utility and agricultural machinery. The audience of the event was also corresponding. Most of the exhibition space was not occupied by cars, but by companies selling spare parts, consumables, accessories and various automotive goods, as well as service providers for service stations and other automotive businesses. There were a little more than a dozen enterprises that manufacture or sell imported cars:

  • Auto-Region LLC. Importer of Daewoo Commercial Vehicle trucks and distributor of TEMSA buses.
  • Schmitz Cargobull Ukraine. Manufacturer, importer and distributor of semi-trailers, bodies and trailers of the same name.
  • Kobzarenko plant. Manufacturer of agricultural machinery, utility, construction and woodworking machinery.
  • ELEKTRI4KA. Importer and dealer of light electric trucks of the Chinese brand WULING.
  • Budshlyakhmash. Production and conversion of special, road and communal machinery under the Spetsbudmash brand, importer of Jac, Mecalac, Pronar, Hiab, Daewoo, MAN, Renault, SCANIA and other brands.
  • Polycar. Body manufacturer. It is part of the Spets-Com-Service group of companies. It is engaged in the production and conversion of commercial vehicles, utility vehicles, trailers, special and specialized vehicles based on imported chassis.
  • Golex. Dealer of the Dongfeng Trucks brand — heavy and medium-duty trucks, buses and special equipment.
  • Grain trade. Dongfeng brand dealer.
  • Trailer Ukraine. Dealer of brands Ali Riza Usta Tanker, Dogan Yildiz, Ozgul Treyler, Guven Makina and Feber.
  • Alphatex. Manufacturer of special and utility equipment based on imported chassis.
  • LUAZ Motors. A young company that plans to manufacture electric pickup trucks in Ukraine based on a Chinese-made body with the use of Ukrainian components.
  • Motor Development Group. Official distributor of the American-Chinese CENNTRO brand, a manufacturer of electric small commercial vehicles.

The stand of the Auto Market Research Institute was located next to the partner company West Auto Hub. The first presented itself as an organization that helps the automotive business to grow using proven data and market analytics, while the second talked about its import and export services for all types of automotive equipment.

Auto Market Research Institute team at Com Auto Trans 2023

In general, five main trends of the ComAutoTrans 2023 exhibition can be identified.

First. The Ukrainian automotive industry today is mainly the production of agricultural products, as well as special and specialized equipment based on imported machine sets, chassis and even ready-made cars. They are brought to Ukraine ready-made and converted — superstructures, additional attachments are installed, and they are adapted to perform specialized functions. At the same time, they offer similar services for used cars.

So, for example, the Spets-Com-Service group of companies is actively developing in Ukraine, which manufactures a variety of special commercial vehicles, semi-trailers, utility vehicles, as well as vehicles for special services — ambulances, patrol cars, etc.

The Budshlyakhmash group of companies manufactures a whole range of construction, road and utility vehicles: vacuum machines, sludge suction machines, sewer cleaning machines, garbage trucks, pothole repair installations, salt spreading machines,self-tapping machines, shift and emergency machines, etc.

Among the manufacturers of agricultural machinery, the Kobzarenko Plant can be singled out, which manufactures various tractor and car trailers and semi-trailers, transshipment and storage bunkers, barrels and tanks, bale trucks, etc.

Second. New niches are emerging in the market of commercial equipment: the segment of electric LCVs — small commercial cars powered by electric traction — was the most noticeable at the exhibition. Several companies presented new products at once: Wuling small trucks (ELECTRI4KA company) and Cenntro van (Motor Development Group company) — both models are made in China. Their prices start at $31,000 and $38,000, respectively, but these are completely different machines in terms of their characteristics.

The LUAZ Motors company also presented two- and four-seater micro-pickups — they are developed on the basis of the body of the Chinese model EEC L7e, the production of which is planned to be localized in Ukraine. The price of such a car with one battery starts at $8,700.

The third. Cars from China are actively increasing their presence in Ukraine. Companies are actively mastering the import of Chinese cars, trucks and their components. A significant part of the market, which was previously occupied by Russian and Belarusian brands, was mostly replaced by Chinese, Indian and South Korean brands. This was predictable, as trade with these countries has been prohibited since the full-scale invasion. Of course, European chassis are also used, but the price of such cars is higher, which in the conditions of the Ukrainian economy and low purchasing power plays a decisive role in choosing a car: in most cases, preference is given to a cheaper analogue. Today, JAC, Daewoo, Dayun, Shacman and others are popular.

The fourth. Before the start of the full-scale invasion, Ukrainian manufacturers exported a significant part of their products to Russia and Belarus. In some companies, the share of cars sold to these countries was almost half of the total number of transactions. After February 24, 2022, the situation changed, we had to look for new markets. This situation prompts to look for new sales markets — in EU countries, Africa and the Middle East.

Fifth. Digitalization has already touched all spheres related to the automotive industry. Yes, several IT solutions were presented at the exhibition. The most interesting were the webex24 system for automating the automotive business and the Ukrainian product RemOnline — a system for automating the work of service stations.

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