Russia car and LCV sales continued their inexorable slide downwards last month, with the latest figures showing new vehicle numbers collapsing 42.5%.

The news comes hot on the heel of February sales data showing a 38% drop, although the Russian government has extended its scrappage scheme and is due to launch a low interest loan programme in a bid to arrest the decline.

"Total market performance in March is bad, of course, but not much worse than expected," said AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee chairman, Joerg Schreiber.

"What we are seeing now in the sales statistics is the long-predicted 'hole' in consumer demand, caused by the pull-ahead of car purchases at the end of last year, and compounded by heavy price inflation in the current year.

"Sooner or later, the situation will stabilise, but we are not at this point yet."

March saw sales fall by 103,482 sold units and amounted to 139,850 cars, according to the AEB.

From January-March, 383,691 cars were sold in Russia.

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