Russians forced to drive coffins on wheels as country imports tin can cars

Russians are fuming that they've been forced to drive "coffins on wheels" as the country imports hundreds of cheap Chinese "tin can" cars.

China is set to deliver 1,000 used cars to Russia by the end of the year according to Deputy General Director Ge Xin of Dragon Link, the company that will "overwhelm Russia with junk", to quote the Moscow Times.

This follows a sale of 92 used cars to Vladimir Putin's regime in July. According to Ge Xin, most of the cars are not more than five year old, some of them even without mileage.

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Because of Western sanctions, car manufacturers have flooded out of the Russian market and stopped shipping to the country, even prompting authorities to start promoting the use of the classic Lada and Moskvich again.

But to help fill the gap in production as Russian car factories get fired up again, the country has struck a deal to use second hand Chinese cars.

Chinese brands such as Haval, Chery and Geely now account for almost 40% of new car sales in Russia, up from less than 10% in January-February 2022, as reported in March.

Sales of the Lada brand cobined with Chinese brands was up from 30% to 80% in January, according Autostat director Sergey Tselikov.

The problem is that in Russia, Chinese cars are often called "tin cans" for their noisy innards and uncomfortable interiors.

They are also known as "coffins on wheels" for their low safety standards, according to Caravanserai.

And despite deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council and former president of Russia Dmitry Medvedev's glib attempts to big up Chinese brands on a visit to the country, some Russians vow never to use them.

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"I'd rather buy an old Mercedes than a new Chinese car whose name I can't even pronounce," said Alexander Smolin, who lives in Yekaterinburg. "I will never switch to a Chinese car."

Ilya Korbutyak, a car owner from Moscow, told Caravanserai about his disappointment after recently driving a brand new Chery Tiggo 7 crossover.

"Imagine you are in the front passenger seat, and you're feeling air on your legs, even though the ventilator is turned off," he said, explaining he felt the air circulation because of "gaps in the door".

"That means dust and exhaust fumes in the passenger compartment, and in winter you really better get into this car dressed in warm shoes and clothing."

He added people who buy Chinese models are "100% guaranteed to face various unpleasant surprises".

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