Russian car sales plummet 20 percent in September: trade data

8th October 2014, Comments 0 comments

Car sales in Russia plunged 20 percent in September as the economic toll from the Ukraine crisis roiled the economy, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Sales slumped by 20.1 percent compared to the figure for the same month last year to 197,233 on the back of a fall of over 25 percent in August, the Association of European Businesses said.

Sales are down by 13 percent, or more than 260,000 vehicles, for the period of January-September in comparison to 2013, the data showed.

While the figure for September showed a slight uptick from August due in part to the end of the summer holiday season the overall trend looked grim for the sector, the group's Automobile Manufacturers Committee said in a statement.

Full year sales were on course to be about 2.45 million vehicles, a 12-percent drop from the 2.77 units sold last year, the statement said.

The fresh drop in sales comes after the government announced a cash-for-clunkers programme late in August that producers hope could help jump-start the stalled sector.

Major European manufacturers have invested heavily in Russia's car industry. The Russian market became the second-biggest in Europe after Germany in 2012.

Sales began falling in the spring of 2013 as the Russian economy slowed.

The market then plunged as the Ukrainian crisis pushed East-West relations to their lowest point since the Cold War, and led the EU and US introduce sanctions against Russia.

The rise in tensions has also caused a plunge of the ruble, thereby pushing up the cost of imported cars and spare parts.

Faced with growing economic uncertainty, Russian consumers are increasingly putting off big-ticket purchases.

© 2014 AFP

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