MOSCOW -- New-car sales in Russia rose 0.6 percent to 132,346 vehicles in November, the first monthly rise for the market since December 2014, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) lobby group said.
"November sales produce the first month with a positive year-on-year result in almost 2 years but it is far too early to read a trend turnaround into this," Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee, said in a statement today.
Analysts Evercore ISI said November sales fell 4.2 percent adjusted for selling days. "It is encouraging to see sales increase on a headline basis, however analyzing the market on a selling-day adjusted basis, we see that the market is still in decline," Evercore said in a note to investors.
Evercore calculated the annualized selling rate at 1.58 million, which is above the last three-month average of 1.50 million.
Through November, sales fell 12 percent to 1.28 million units, the AEB said.
A government incentive program was the main reason for slowing declines in sales, the AEB said last month. The group predicted that registrations should pick up toward the end of the year. The AEB called on the Russian government to continue incentives into 2017.
After a decade of annual sales growth in excess of 10 percent, Russia's car industry has become one of the most high-profile victims of an economic crisis fueled by lower oil prices and Western sanctions over Moscow's actions in Ukraine.
December is expected to prove whether the market "continues to move in the right direction," Schreiber said.
The AEB has said it expects Russian sales of new cars and light commercial vehicles to fall 10.3 percent to 1.44 million units in 2016.
Lada, Renault big gains
Sales at Lada, Russia's top-selling brand, rose 18 percent in November as the marque continued to benefit from demand for two new compact models, the Vesta sedan and XRay crossover.
Volume at No. 2 brand Hyundai rose by 4 percent, a rise matched by third-placed Kia. Renault, the No. 4 brand, saw registrations jump 13 percent, but demand at alliance partner Nissan fell 18 percent. Sales at fifth-ranked Toyota increased 7 percent.
Among other major brands, VW brand sales slipped 8 percent, while Skoda registrations rose 3 percent. Sales at Ford were up 7 percent, while volume at Chevrolet dropped 11 percent.
• Download PDF, above right, for Russia sales by automaker, brand and model for November and 11 months.
Reuters contributed to this report