New-car sales in Russia fell 15 percent to 107,665 vehicles in May after an 8.5-percent fall in April, but an industry body believes the economy may now have reached its lowest point and might even grow in 2017.
"As the car market keeps struggling, the macroeconomic picture gives reason for cautious optimism," Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee, said in a statement.
Schreiber said the prevailing view among the experts appears to be that the country's economy has passed the low point and that the outlook until the end of this year is"stable at least, or even positive moving into 2017."
Five-month sales were down 15 percent to 548,119, the AEB said on Wednesday, adding it would update its full-year forecast next month.
• Download PDF, above right, for May Russia sales by brand and automaker.
After a decade of annual sales growth in excess of 10 percent and the expectation that the market could overtake Germany as Europe's biggest, the Russian auto industry has been badly hit by an economic crisis driven by low oil prices and Western sanctions over the Ukraine.
Last year, car sales fell 36 percent to 1.6 million, according to the AEB.