While the overall European market is fighting to support a feeble auto industry recovery, the situation in Russia – a market not long ago forecasted to overthrow Germany – is getting worse.
Following an overall drop of 10 percent in 2014 (which came after a 5% fall in 2013), the Russian car market is expected to delve even deeper into the overall economic recession this year, with forecasts putting new car registrations off another 24%. The prediction comes from the Moscow-based Association of European Businesses automakers lobby group. Its chairman, Joerg Schreiber, said during a news conference yesterday that new car and light commercial vehicle sales could drop from 2.49 million in 2014 to just 1.89 million units in 2015. Auto executives in the country said the forecast was ranging from “slightly higher” than what they expected (Philippe Saillard, chief of Nissan in Russia) to “very optimistic” – according to Koichi Takakura, the Russian director at Suzuki.
According to the industry group’s data, the collapse slowed down in November and December – with the latter tallying a 2% advancement to 270,600 autos. On the other hand, the climb is reportedly not due to the Russian government’s introduction of a subsidy program of the cash-for-clunkers type. Analysts and industry experts believe a sudden consumer rush to acquire big-ticket items as the local currency continued its collapse triggered the slight uptick. Carmakers have slowed production, raised prices and even closed sales of certain models to cope with the ruble plunging last year more than 40 percent against the dollar.
Via Automotive News Europe