Russian Aftermarket Engine Oil Consumption Rises

Russian aftermarket motor oil consumption - the volume of engine oils used in passenger vehicles post-sale - amounted to 161 million liters during the July 2017 to July 2018 period, up 5.2 percent from the same period a year earlier, due to growth in miles driven, according to global consultancy Gipa.

The mileage driven has increased slightly over the last couple of years as the countrys economy has shown signs of stabilizing, according to Gipa. The International Monetary Fund estimated recently that Russian gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 1.7 percent during the first half of 2018, and government agency Rosstat forecast growth of 1.9 percent for the second half. The nations economy shrank approximately 3 percent in 2015 and 2016 before the slight improvement of 0.3 percent in 2015 and 1.5 percent last year.

Photo: ET1972/Shutterstock

Car maintenance in Moscow. Russian aftermarket oil consumption is up compared to a year earlier due to growth in miles driven.

The consultancy based its study on a Russia-wide survey of motorists. Gipa had access to the motorists car registrations and car service record books.

The study measured brand awareness by asking each motorist to name at least eight brands of motor oil. ExxonMobils Mobil was most often named as one of the eight brands, cited by 49 percent of respondents. The Lukoil and Shell motor oil brands were each cited by 45 percent of the motorists surveyed.

The study found that 14 percent of the respondents mentioned the brand sold by French oil major Total. Total Vostok, the companys subsidiary in Russia, opened an automotive and industrial lubricant blend plant in mid-October.

Russian lube manufacturers brand awareness is related to the expansion of fuel stations as the main points of contact between consumers and the lines of the latest finished lubricant products, the Gipa study found.

Russian motorists perform oil changes primarily once a year, the survey found, and they either did it independently, brought their own oil to be changed at a service station - the buy and fit principle - or delegated the oil purchase and oil change to a third party.

The consultancy also found that the buy and fit principle has been a primary oil change practice in Russia since 2010. In the last couple of years, around half of the surveyed motorists responded that they usually bring purchased motor oil to the service station for the scheduled car maintenance. In 2017, 70 percent of the surveyed motorists individually decided what type of motor oil they should buy.

Gipa found that during the new car warranty period, motorists tend to have oil changed at the official dealership service stations so as to not violate the warranty agreement. After the car warranty expires - it is usually a five- to nine-year engine warranty period - Russian motorists shun the official dealership maintenance associated with higher costs and turn to independent service stations or local maintenance garages. Independent service stations are usually busy maintaining cars that are over 10 years old, while local maintenance garages service cars that are 15 years or older, the consultancy found.

Age of Russian motorists is also important in deciding what oil to choose and where the service should be performed. Motorists up to 35 years old primarily change their oil independently (do-it-yourself), while car owners between 35 and 50 years old are choosing the buy and fit principle, according to Gipa. The habits of car owners aged 50 and up are mixed; 25 percent choose the buy and fit principle, while 36 percent go the do-it yourself route.

The Gipa survey concluded that performing car service independently is still a tall task in Russia and it is done by a narrow margin of aftermarket consumers that own relatively new cars with expired warranties.