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In Russia, it has become impossible to buy spare parts for foreign cars: it is also impossible to order from other countries

The refusal of automakers from official deliveries of cars to Russia also affected spare parts for them. Dealers of many brands do not have a long list of the most popular parts. There are far from everything Chinese analogues, reports Fontanka.

Photo: IStock

About 1,7 million cars drive in St. Petersburg, 80% of which are foreign cars. Already last year, their service became a problem - due to failures in supply chains and a crisis in the semiconductor market, delivery times and prices increased markedly. However, the real difficulties began after February 2022.

At first, it was difficult to feel them - large stocks accumulated in the warehouses of car services. However, already in the middle of summer it became clear that car repairs were becoming more than just expensive. For a number of brands, parts are not only original and for three prices, but not at all, from the word “absolutely”, as car owners complain.

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The journalists ran an experiment trying to find some running and expensive rare parts for three cars: a six-year-old workhorse Volkswagen Polo, a brand new small city jeep Hyundai Creta, and a not-so-pretentious but quite worthy 2016 Mercedes GLC.

“In official and unofficial showrooms, we were looking for running front bumpers and windshields for these cars, as well as a technically difficult starter and the most expensive and technologically advanced steering rack,” says Denis Lebedev.

The easiest way to find all this, quite predictably, turned out to be on the Hyundai Creta - the car is completely new, spare parts for it have not yet massively diverged, as journalists say.

According to legend, all their cars have always been serviced only by authorized dealers and received only original parts during repairs (which, by the way, is true). So they were looking for original spare parts, and only when it was completely impossible to find them, they agreed to replicas.

“As a result, we managed to find a new Creta: the original bumper (it consists of two parts, for about $260), a windshield for $240, a starter for $740 and an expensive one (as it seemed to us at first), but it was the original steering rack for $1300 . The bumper elements and the steering rack were promised to be delivered to us within a maximum of 5 days. But the original glass and starter are a problem with them. The waiting period is from three weeks to three months,” says Denis.

Even at official services, managers understand the severity of the problem and honestly advise suitable non-original parts. True, such a strange thing: they are not necessarily cheaper than the original. In the catalog of one of the largest sellers of spare parts in the city for the brand new Creta, there is not a single option suitable for the VIN number. And those that are, to previous versions, cost up to $ 800 per piece in the collection. And although they do not fit at all, one can sympathize with the owners of the previous generation Hyundai Creta. Even a used bumper from disassembly costs $780.

Steering racks in the form of Chinese replicas for completely new cars have not yet appeared on the market. So the experimenters did not have options to look for something cheaper. Another major player in the auto parts market picked up an original steering rack for $ 1400 by VIN number: paradoxically, it is cheaper from an authorized dealer.

Managers in salons say that, for example, the original starter can be replaced with a similar one from an understandable manufacturer like Bosch, but the situation is such that it can also be more expensive. There is also a wide range of prices for windshields. Originals are not always the best quality and cheapest options.

“In any case, spare parts for the new Hyundai Creta are still available, although they will have to wait,” says Denis.
Things are a little more complicated with the Volkswagen Polo, the journalists say, although its huge popularity and prevalence, it would seem, should form a wide supply and demand. So it is, if you turn a blind eye to the originality of spare parts.

The bumper and windshield in the original design were found immediately - for $420 and $290, respectively. Delivery time - 3 days. “But with more complex details - trouble. To find the original starter, I had to call three dealers. Only the latter had one left in stock in Moscow for $940. It will take about a week to go, but a 100% prepayment is required,” says Denis.

Other options offered by dealers: a very cheap starter for $290 - it will be delivered in three days. And exactly the same as they put at the factory - the same company, but without the VW badge, will cost $ 640.

Original steering racks at different dealers cost $1885 and $2030.

“But don't worry, it's impossible to buy them. As the managers put it, you can order, but with an "infinite delivery time." That is, no one knows when he will arrive, ”says Denis.

“We don’t have to wait for any certainty until the end of the special operation, so we have to get out,” experts complain. “And then the saddest part of our search for parts began - for the Mercedes,” says Denis. “It seems not very rare and not the most expensive, the GLC turned out to be completely unrepairable in St. Petersburg in July 2022.”

The first dealer the guys approached didn't even bother asking for the VIN, only finding out what they needed.

“Bumpers and glasses have long ended,” he snapped. It’s also pointless to look for more technological details from the officials. When asked what to do, the manager thoughtfully remarked: “Well, the starter can be sorted out ...”

“For a moment it seemed that we were talking not with a languid expert from the salon of luxury cars for tens of millions of rubles apiece, but with a neighbor locksmith. He bluntly said about the steering rack that the only option is to look for a used one at a disassembly. Well, just Uncle Vova from the nearest garages. Apparently, such times are coming, ”says Denis.

In another official Mercedes showroom, they decided, if not to find the necessary parts for customers, then at least to maintain the reputation of an expensive and respectable place. “The windshield costs $1400 - original. It is not possible to orientate in terms of delivery time - we are not accepting orders yet. The bumper for our car costs $1840. Yes, you can’t order it either, ”the manager struck with numbers. Further more. The starter can theoretically be ordered from a factory in Germany. If they accept the order, you will have to wait up to 8 weeks. If not, “well, what can you do”… It costs $2000. The manager did not offer to sort it out.

And finally, the steering rack.

“On order, it now costs $7300. There are no typos in this phrase. But, as you might guess, it is not there either, orders are not accepted, when it will be - it is not known, ”says Denis.

With Mercedes, the situation is aggravated by the fact that after December the official importer in Moscow simply closed its warehouse with a key and disconnected its bases from communication with dealers. It can be assumed that there are spare parts for German cars in Russia, but not only can you not get them, but you can’t even see if they are available.

Unofficial suppliers of spare parts for Mercedes also have no options in warehouses. The windshield for almost the same car costs - and this is used - $ 1950. But it doesn't seem to fit.

“There is an option to try on one glass from China for a ridiculous $130. Fits - wow! No... well, no. Steering racks and starters by our VIN number are not searched either from gray suppliers or at dismantling sites. Bumper is a must see. It seems there is a used pair, but it’s not clear whether it will fit, ”he says.

Bottom line: everything is generally bad, and we must look for other options. Remembering Finland at hand, the journalists decided to try their luck there. It is unlikely that at the announced prices for spare parts there will be much more expensive. And the very first option that fell out on the request “Car repair in Finland” gave hope. Website of the Finnish network of services, the official dealer of five brands, with points in Lappeenranta and Imatra. A promising offer of service in Russian and a phone number.

“The nice manager really speaks Russian,” says Denis. “But when she found out that it was a car with Russian numbers, she drooped.” “We are not allowed to sell parts or even service any car that has anything to do with Russia. The distributor will check where the parts will go. Yes, and we ourselves must check the sanctions,” she said.

So even a crazy option to come without any numbers at all is unrealistic: by the VIN number it will be immediately clear in which country this car was sold. These rules, the Finnish manager said, were introduced recently - about a month ago. Prior to that, she says, Russian cars were serviced without problems.

“Already desperate, we found a group on VK with a Russian parts supplier from Helsinki. They called and ... Oh joy! “Yes, we can pick up everything you need. We can change it ourselves in Helsinki, we can arrange delivery to Russia,” Denis said about the manager’s response.

He is aware that official Finnish dealers do not serve or sell anything to Russians. “But that’s why we’re not official,” he explains.

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There are a number of difficulties. For example, the fact that he does not have the status of a dealer means that he does not have access to the official catalog. And the search for some specific details is difficult. That is, “just a bumper” is impossible. It is necessary to indicate a specific part with an article number. For this, Alexander suggested contacting St. Petersburg dealers - they are unlikely to refuse. With everything else there are no problems.

“The prices there are very impressive, especially with delivery,” Denis summed up.

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