MOSCOW -- Russian vehicle sales are expected to rise 12 percent to 2.8 million this year after growing 39 percent in 2011, the Moscow-based Association of European Businesses (AEB) said today.
Passenger-car and light commercial vehicle sales totaled 2.65 million units last year, compared with a forecast of 2.6 million, the association said.
December sales of cars and LCVs in Russia rose 23 percent to 251,400 from 205,200 in the same month in 2010.
Russia was on course to become Europe's biggest car market before the financial crisis, but a collapse in demand as credit dried up caused sales to halve in 2009.
David Thomas, chairman of the AEB automobile manufacturers committee, said growth will be slower this year due to economic worries.
"Clearly 2012 can be impacted by the global financial environment but the ingredients for growth this year remain; low level of car ownership, age of vehicles in use and significant potential as well as investment activities in the regions," he said in a statement.
Russia's top-selling brand in 2011 was AvtoVAZ's Lada, followed by Chevrolet and Hyundai. Download PDF, above right, for 2011 Russia sales by brand and group.
Separately, AvtoVAZ saw its vehicle sales in Russia rise 11 percent to 578,387, the company said. AvtoVAZ share prices saw their biggest two-day gain in more than a month as investors bet Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. will complete talks to acquire a majority holding in Russia's largest carmaker.
Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said Jan. 9 that a deal with AvtoVAZ may be completed within weeks. Renault bought 25 percent of Russia's largest carmaker in 2008 for $1 billion.
Source: Bloomberg and Reuters, with ANE staff contributions