Russia new car sales to plunge deeper than expected image

The Russian car market is seen to shrink in 2016 at a faster pace than it was previously forecasted, after the first half of the year brought a double digit fall.

Sales of new cars and light commercial vehicles in Russia dropped by 12.5 percent last month or by 17,562 units compared with a year earlier, a market that returned 122,633 cars, according to the Moscow-based AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee. The result brought the year-to-date deliveries to 672,140 units, marking a 14.1 percent fall and forcing the AEB to readjust its previous forecast for now to expect a double contraction.

“Total market volume continued to erode at double-digit pace, faster than anticipated at the beginning of the year,” Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the AEB, said in the statement. Therefore, sales are seen to drop by 10.3 percent in 2016 to 1.44 million units, after the previous estimate was for a decline by less than 5 percent to 1.53 million vehicles. “This prediction implies a slowdown of the negative trend in the second half of 2016, to a level of 6 percent to 7 percent or half of what we have seen so far this year,” he added.

Car sales in Russia reached in 2015 the lowest level since 2009, as the demand plunged 35.7 percent to 1,601,126 units. Because of the economic slump that pushed the country in its longest recession in two decades, the auto market went down by almost 50 percent in the past four years.