Auto sales in Russia dropped 4% in March, after an increase of 2% in February.
According to the Association of European Businesses automakers sold 2.95 million vehicles in Russia during the first quarter, a flat number compared with 2.94 vehicles sold during the same period last year, as customers are still concerned about the economic crisis.
“That forecast still stands, but we will have to watch further developments closely. Intake of new customer orders in the first 3 months of the year has not caught up with the strong momentum seen in the same period last year. One reason for that may be the unusually long winter season,” the AEB said.
Several western automakers, including Ford, GM, Fiat and Renault have made heavy investments in the Russian market as it is expected to surpass Germany and become the largest market in Europe by the end of this decade. Ford predicts that by 2014 Russia will be the biggest auto market in Europe, but there is still a lot of work to do to get there.
Ford has three plants in Russia which produce 120,000 units annually, but the company plans to increase capacity to 300,000 units and also open engine and stamping plants in the Tarkastan region.