Russia 2012 car sales on course to hit near pre-crisis levels
Sales of new cars and light commercial vehicles in Russia rose 10 percent in June, the Moscow-based Association for European Businesses (AEB) said, maintaining the double-digit growth that is expected to return the market to near pre-crisis levels for the full year.
The figure was down slightly from the 11 percent recorded in May, but the 272,125 units sold in June was the best monthly performance since July 2008.
Russian sales reached 2.9 million in 2008, but halved the following year as the global financial crisis destroyed consumer demand and dried up access to credit.
The AEB expects 2.85 million cars to be sold in Russia during 2012, around 7.5 percent up on the previous year and close to pre-crisis levels.
"We anticipate to see some more consolidation in the second half of the year, as the market stays comfortably on track to achieve full-year sales in excess of 2.8 million," the AEB's auto committee chairman Joerg Schreiber said in a statement on Monday.
Western carmakers including General Motors, Ford, Renault and Fiat are investing heavily in Russia to take advantage of a market that is expected to overtake Germany as Europe's biggest some time this decade.
Chevrolet leads foreign sales
Lada continued to be Russia's top-selling brand last month with sales of 45,032, but volume fell 18 percent.
General Motors' Chevrolet led the foreign-owned models with sales of 20,746, up 15 percent on the same month last year.
Sales of No. 3 Renault rose 31 percent to 19,859, ahead of Kia at No. 4, which sold 17,307 cars, up 19 percent. Kia's affiliate brand Hyundai was No. 5 with 16,097, a drop of 1 percent.
Volkswagen was among the automakers that increased sales the most last month, with demand up 41 percent to 15,747, along with Toyota whose sales rose 91 percent to 14,145.
GM's Opel brand also performed strongly with sales of 7,588, a rise of 18 percent.
First-half sales for 2012 were up 14 percent year-on-year to 1.4 million units, a four-year high, AEB said.
Reuters contributed to this report
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