Gloomy automakers are hiking prices amidst forecasts car sales will drop 25% in Russia this year
Car sales in Russia look set to plummet by nearly one quarter in 2015 as the economic crisis batters consumer spending, automobile manufacturers said on Thursday.
The predicted fall of 24% comes after a decline in sales of over 10% last year, producers said, according to news agency AFP.
"This year will be complicated," said Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the automobile committee at the Association of European Businesses.
"Nobody doubts that there will be a crisis, the question is how severe and long it will last," he said.
Russia's energy-dependent economy has been hit hard by falling oil prices and western sanctions over Moscow's alleged meddling in Ukraine.
The ruble has lost about 15% of its value against the dollar since the start of the year after tumbling by around 41% in 2014.
The inflation rate has risen to over 11% on the back of the national currency's fall and could hit 17% this spring, officials said.
Car manufacturers have in recent days hiked the price of their vehicles, with Toyota pushing up prices by about 20% and domestic leader Lada raising them by about 9%.
European manufacturers have invested heavily in Russia, which had risen to become the second biggest market after Germany.
After reaching record levels in 2012, the Russian market started to tail off in 2013 before falling heavily on fallout from the Ukraine crisis.