The rate of decline in Russian new-car sales slowed in October, helped by government incentives to encourage vehicle purchases.
Sales fell by 2.6 percent to 126,658 last month, according to data released by the Association of European Businesses (AEB) lobby group on Wednesday.
AEB Chairman Joerg Schreiber said the government's incentives program was the main reason why the decline was modest in October after double-digit drops in recent months. "This is not a bad result, confirming our earlier voiced expectation that the new-car registration trend should improve towards year end," he said.
He called on the government to continue incentives into next year. "What awaits us in 2017 remains to be seen. But it is clear already that, without meaningful support from the government, any trend stabilization would be very short-lived," Schreiber said.
In July, the AEB downgraded its 2016 full-year market forecast to 1.44 million units from a previously expected 1.53 million units, representing a 10 percent fall compared with 2015.
Through October, Russian sales fell 13 percent to 1.14 million vehicles.
Lada, Russia's top-selling brand, continued to benefit from demand for two new compact models, the Vesta sedan and XRay crossover. Its October sales increased 13 percent year-on-year.
Volume at second-placed Kia rose by 4 percent, while at Hyundai, the No. 3 brand, sales were flat. Renault, the No. 4 brand, saw registrations rise 2 percent, while fifth-ranked Toyota's sales jumped 16 percent.
• Download PDF, above right, for Russia sales by automaker, brand and model for October and ten months.
Among other top-ranked brands in the market, VW sales rose by 1 percent, while Skoda registrations were flat. Sales at Ford fell 8 percent and Chevrolet was down 30 percent.