Russian new-car sales fell 42 percent in April, the lowest level for the month in a decade, as the country's economy continued to be hit by Western sanctions, low oil prices and a weak currency.
Sales of cars and light commercial vehicles shrank to 132,456 last month, the Association of European Businesses in Russia said on Wednesday in a statement. Through April, sales are down 38 percent to 516,135.
April sales were below the previous monthly low point of 136,000 units in 2009 during the Lehman crisis, Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the AEB automobile manufacturers committee, said in the statement.
Schreiber said the AEB expects a "gradual flattening of the negative trend in the coming months,” helped by government measures to help automakers. The AEB forecasts that sales will decline 24 percent this year.
VW, GM, Ford hit
All carmakers saw big sales drops in April. Volume at the No. 1 brand Lada was down 38 percent while No. 2 Kia fell 22 percent and No. 3 Hyundai dropped 14 percent.
European automakers suffered with sales at Renault, Russia's fourth best-selling brand, declining by 41 percent. VW brand sales were down 47 percent and Opel dropped 59 percent.
Asian brands suffered with Toyota sales plunging 54 percent and Nissan down 44 percent.
Ford sales fell 48 percent.
• Download PDF, above right, for April and 4-month Russia sales by automaker and brand.
To fight the industry slide, Russia's government has started to subsidize car loans, extended a scrappage program and allowed individuals to lease cars.
General Motors is idling its St. Petersburg factory and winding down Opel in response to the country's flagging car market. Other automakers are cutting back sharply on production.