Russia won't 'boss' auto sector - Deputy Industry Minister
"Just line everyone up and start bossing them – we can do it but it won't be efficient" - Russia Deputy Industry Minister Alexander Morozov
Senior Russian politicians say they are not going to start "bossing" the domestic automotive sector around as debate swirls as to whether or not Moscow should do more to boost the industry.
The Russian car sector is currently enduring almost unprecedented falls in sales, which have seen Moscow hastily act to plug some of the shortfall, providing a range of incentives that have seen around 500,000 vehicles shifted out of showrooms as a result.
At last week's Russian Automotive Forum (RAF) in Moscow, Autostat analysis agency director, Sergey Tselikov, asked whether or not a dedicated department should be established specifically directed at the vehicle sector.
"The government and other agencies will support the market as long as the market need the support," said Tsekilov. "What is now missing in the Russian automotive market...in my view, what is missing is a consultation organisation that would handle the market and automotive industry.
"We have this transportation department – you could start there. In Germany for instance, there is the VDA which takes care of the automotive industry, but in Russia we don't have it.
"People don't know where to go, who to ask. No-one is trying to develop this holistic programme about how we see the Russian automotive industry develop."
Russia's crisis saw sales fall 36% last year to 1.6m vehicles sold, but The Kremlin points out it has put together a raft of initiatives – worth RUB43bn (US$638m) in 2015 and will pump a further RUB50bn into the sector this year in a bid to bolster moribund sales by improving access to credit rates among other measures.
"We have the AEB [Association of European Businesses], we have a lot of organisations, which deal with this kind of business," countered Russian Deputy Industry Minister, Alexander Morozov at the Moscow Forum.
"Just line everyone up and start bossing them – we can do it but it won't be efficient. We are open to everyone – we are ready to support any process to do with the enlargement of these institutions but I don't think it would be correct to do things forcefully."
Despite the undoubted crisis plaguing the industry, the falling ruble is potentially providing a genuine competitive advantage for localised suppliers and automakers.