Russia’s economic development ministry does not expect a drastic drop in auto sales in Russia after the government’s 'cash for clunkers' programme is completed, Alexei Rakhmanov, head of the industry and trade ministry’s auto department, said.

He said the ministry did not expect anything similar to the one in Germany which saw a 25% fall in sales.

An abrupt drop is unlikely because the programme is expected to be phased out gradually by September 2011, Rakhmanov said.

The government launched the clunkers programme in March. Under the programme, owners of cars produced before 2000 can receive bonuses worth RUB50,000 to buy new Russian made cars in exchange for recycling their old cars.