South Korean carmaker Hyundai is the latest automotive brand to leave the Russian market in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine almost two years ago.

    In the weeks following the March 2022 invasion, Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, BMW, Nissan, Renault and Hyundai suspended their Russian operations, citing parts supply interruptions.

    While most brands subsequently pulled out of the market and sold their local factories within a handful of months, Reuters reports Hyundai finally offloaded its two Russian factories to Art-Finance last week.

    Hyundai said in December it would sell its two factories for 10,000 rubles ($170), with a projected loss of 287 billion won (A$326 million).

    Despite the relatively low sum, multiple carmakers have sold their Russian assets for less than Hyundai.

    Nissan and Mazda both offloaded all or part of their operations for one Euro ($1.65 today), while Renault sold its 68 per cent stake in Russian carmaker AvtoVAZ for one ruble – equivalent to just two cents at the time.

    Art-Finance – which is backed by car dealership network Avilon – previously purchased Volkswagen’s production and related business facilities in May 2023, reportedly spending €125 million ($206 million) on the German company’s assets.

    Hyundai opened its first Russian factory in 2010, where it began to produce the Solaris – a locally made version of the Accent hatch and sedan – from 2011, closely followed by a Russian-market specific Kia Rio.

    Production of the Hyundai Creta – which sits between the Venue and Santa Fe in size – began in 2016, soon becoming the best-selling SUV in Russia between 2017 and 2021.

    In December 2020 Hyundai purchased a decommissioned former General Motors factory in Saint Petersburg, though it’s understood the plant was not brought back online before its local operations were suspended.

    The departure of major carmakers from the Russian auto market has been cited as a driving factor behind China becoming the world’s largest vehicle exporter in 2023, dethroning Japan for the first time.

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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