New car sales in Russia have slowed and are expected to remain at similar levels in 2013 after record volumes last year.

According to industry figures cited by Reuters, buyers are cutting spending as they grow wary of economic troubles in Europe and the United States. Russia has become Europe’s second-largest car market thanks to its growing middle class, its relatively low level of car ownership and a large numbers of comparatively old vehicles that need replacing. However, sales growth slowed at the end of 2012 as economic uncertainty caused people to think twice before purchasing a new car.

“The next year isn’t going to be very easy … based on the current conditions and the customer demand. Everything depends on the domestic market environment, and Russia is surrounded by regions where economic development is quite difficult. So currently, we are forecasting a market on the level of the market in 2012,” said Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the Association of European Businesses, which produces monthly car market statistics in Russia.

Last year car sales rose 10.6 percent to 2.935 million in Russia, setting a new record. The previous record was 2.918 million sales in 2008. For 2013, sales are expected to be between 2.8 million units and 3.1 million units, the AEB said.


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