MOSCOW -- Sales of new cars in Russia rose 4.3 percent in 2021, partially bouncing back from a sharp decline caused by COVID-19 lockdowns, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) said on Thursday, with growth expected to slow this year.
The association said the positive trend last year, with 1.67 million units sold, was due to the effect restrictive health measures introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus had on sales in 2020, when they dropped to 1.60 million units.
The AEB, a representative body of foreign investors in Russia, now expects growth to slow to 3.3 percent in 2022 with sales of 1.72 million units.
Its 2022 forecast assumes the geopolitical situation will not worsen and there will be no new curbs on external trade, in particular sanctions.
The AEB said global factors including a shortage of electronic components, logistics challenges and higher costs of materials were contributing to a significant supply shortage.
"There is no sign of a rapid improvement of the situation," Thomas Staertzel, Chairman of the AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee, said in a statement.
Sales fell for the sixth consecutive month in December, down 20 percent year on year to 133,470 units after a 20 percent drop in November, the AEB said.
Renault-owned AvtoVAZ, which builds Lada, the country's top-selling brand, sold 350,714 cars in Russia last year.
Olivier Mornet, president for sales and marketing at AvtoVAZ, told reporters he expected the market to see slightly higher sales this year.
"Maybe there will be a small increase (in sales) to 1.75 million vehicles (in 2022)," he said. "This is a baseline forecast. Many factors could affect it."