British auto lobby says 2,000 percent increase in luxury vehicles sales to former Soviet country is ‘not about Russia’


(MENAFN) In response to a remarkable surge in luxury car exports from the United Kingdom to Azerbaijan, the British Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has vehemently denied any connection to Russia or sanctions circumvention. As cited by Sky News, the SMMT refutes previous suggestions that the exponential growth in vehicle sales to the South Caucasus nation is a result of sanctions evasion tactics or linked to Russia's geopolitical landscape.

Sky News had previously reported a staggering 2,000 percent increase in car exports to Azerbaijan compared to the five-year period preceding 2022. This surge coincided with the United Kingdom's ban on car imports exceeding EUR42,000 (USD53,300) to Russia following Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine, as well as restrictions on "dual use" items sales to the country.

In light of analysis conducted by Sky News revealing a corresponding rise in car exports from Azerbaijan to Russia during the same timeframe, the SMMT spokesperson rebuffed any insinuation of illicit dealings. The spokesperson emphasized that Azerbaijan stands as a thriving market independently and underscored the lack of evidence indicating that vehicles destined for the country were ultimately bound for Russia.

The SMMT further elucidated that the surge in United Kingdom vehicle exports to Azerbaijan is a reflection of various factors, including the country's burgeoning economy, introduction of new vehicle models, and pent-up consumer demand. These dynamics, according to the SMMT, contribute to the overall increase in United Kingdom vehicle exports to Azerbaijan, mirroring trends observed in global markets.

Sky's analysis revealed that Azerbaijan continued its significant vehicle imports from the United Kingdom, amounting to USD51 million in the first month of the current year alone. Notably, Azerbaijan had not previously ranked among the top 75 export destinations for British-made cars, underscoring the sudden and substantial emergence of the South Caucasus nation in this domain.

As discussions surrounding international trade dynamics persist, the SMMT's assertion stands in contrast to speculation regarding the motivations behind the surge in luxury car exports to Azerbaijan. Amidst geopolitical tensions and economic considerations, the narrative surrounding the expansion of United Kingdom-Azerbaijan trade relations continues to evolve, with implications for both regional and global markets.

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