Withdrawn Brands Still Popular in Russia


Withdrawn Brands Still Popular in Russia
Motor oils and other automotive fluids on shelves and in drums at an automotive parts store in Omsk, Russia. © mk1one

Western oil companies may have pulled out of Russia, but they remain among the country’s most recognized motor oil brands, a recent survey found.

Moscow-based analytical company Autostat surveyed 3,000 motorists in November, asking what passenger car motor oil brands they know best. The results were published in a recent report, “Autostat Omnibus – 2022. Motor Oils: Motorists Preferences. Sixth Wave.”

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In 2022, the three most sought-after brands were the same as in Autostat’s 2021 survey – Shell, Lukoil and ExxonMobil’s Mobil.

Motor oil brands of companies that exited to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine remain available – in some cases in large quantities – because of distributors inventories and products that entered Russia through alternative routes, for example via reshipments through Turkey.

“Premium prices kept the stock available for months,” Autostat Senior Analyst Viktor Pushkarev told Lube Report last week. “For example, Shell’s and Mobil’s products are still available in Russia even now, albeit at very high prices.

“Russian motorists are feeling the pain of the sharp price increase of motor oils that were usually accessible to them,” he said. “There is a deficit for many imported brands, while the list of available Russian-made products is expanding.”

Fifthy-seven percent of respondents reported buying synthetic motor oil, and 35% of them reported choosing semi-synthetic products.

The most popular sale points were spare parts stores, as 44% of respondents said they bought their motor oil in such locations, followed by online stores, at 13%. Thirty percent of respondents reported changing their own oil, while 36% said they go to service centers or quick oil change outlets.

Pushkarev said that 2022 was a turning point for the Russian motor oil market. “We are seeing structural transformation of the market, changing composition of market players, changing availability of the commodities, new price levels and sale and consumption channels,” he said. “All major international companies, such as ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, TotalEnergies and Idemitsu, officially announced that they are leaving Russia.”