Wooing Male Drivers in Russia

MOSCOW - Eighty-four percent of motorists in Russia are men, while just 16 percent are women, and men usually handle engine oil changes, whether by doing it themselves or taking their vehicle to a service provider, according to the local subsidiary of French energy giant Total.

Speaking to an industry conference, an official said the company has built its marketing campaign around that demographic.

Thats why the target of our marketing efforts are the Russian males age 30 to 55, who are more likely to perform oil changes, or bring [vehicles in for] oil change service, than women, Anastasia Makarkina, head of marketing at Total Vostok, told RPIs International Lubricants conference held here in October.

She added that this age group best understands the product, and would most likely buy it.

Makarkina cited survey data from different consultancies such as Autostat, RTGI-Brandscience, Brand Navigator and Ipsos.

Total in Russia decided to target two adjacent customer groups - Russian males aged 18 to 29 and Russian males 55 and over.

Coverage of the young target audience will allow us to expand our customer base, while senior audience [members] are usually loyal customers with whom we work on increasing commitment and confidence, Makarkina said.

Russia is a country with a high proportion of older passenger cars. Three times as many used cars (or 5,4 million units) are sold in a year as new ones, and the average age of these cars is nine years, according to Total.

As of Jan. 2019, Russia had 51,8 million registered vehicles, and 84 percent of these were passenger cars, Moscow-based consultancy Autostat reported.

The French company found that the motorists, usually men, try to extend the life of their cars as long as possible, to avoid the high costs of buying new vehicles, according to Makarkina.

Prolonged economic insecurity makes Russia a country of used cars, and with falling incomes motorists are less likely to upgrade to a new vehicle, Makarkina said, citing a 2017 report by France-based market research firm Ipsos.

According to the survey, motorists gave the following common answer: Now it is much more difficult to buy a new car than it was a few years ago. I have to focus on thorough and regular service of my current vehicle.

Total Vostok is the French oil majors subsidiary in Russia.

Total recently opened a 40,000 tons per year lubricants blending plant in Russia and extensively markets its product there.

Photo: VPales/Alamy