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September 9, 2009

RUSSIA: Car sales down 51% this year

Sales of new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in Russia decreased by 51% year-on-year in the first eight months of 2009 and by 54% in the month of August.

Sales of new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in Russia decreased by 51% year-on-year in the first eight months of 2009 and by 54% in the month of August.

Sales of passenger cars and LCVs in Russia fell 51% on the year to 989,996 units in the January–August period. In August, sales fell 54% on the year to 110,934 units, the AEB said.

The Moscow-based AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee said that among the top ten best-selling models of passenger cars so far this year, seven are produced in Russia.

“In August the market maintained a similar downward trend compared to the previous few months showing that recent government actions have only stabilised the market rather than having reversed the trend. It’s encouraging to see the recent developments aimed at introducing a scrappage scheme to Russia but would I urge the government to make this applicable to all car manufacturers not just those producing in Russia. The possible extension of the increase in import duties that were
introduced at the beginning of 2009 would be disappointing as it will not help in increasing the industry volume for the remainder of 2009,” said David Thomas AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee’s Chairman.

Martin Jahn, Vice Chairman of the AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee added: “Due to a continuous decrease in sales the AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee has revised its earlier industry forecast for the new passenger cars and LCVs market in 2009 down to 1.4 million units. However, we see some signs of stabilisation in the market and hopefully will not have to review these figures again.”

Russia’s largest car manufacturer AvtoVAZ sold 241,405 Lada automobiles in January–August, down 44% on the year, while sales of automaker GAZ fell 60% to 37,485 units.

Among foreign-branded vehicles, sales of Chevrolet slumped 54% on the year to 74,066 units in January–August; Ford’s sales also fell 54% to 59,145 units; sales of Nissan decreased 55% to 47,266 units and sales of Toyota dropped 62% to 48,132 units.

As well as a weaker rouble, the imported car market has been hurt by a 30 percent import duty, which may be extended.

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