Russia's car and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) sales in February contracted for the first time in two years, dropping by 3.6% year-on-year and by 1.8% y/y in January-February overall to 0.133mn and 0.235mn units respectively, according to the latest data from the Association of European Businesses (AEB).
"For the first time in almost 2 years, market sales in February showed a – however small – downturn compared to the prior year result," the head of AEB Joerg Schreiber commented.
The sale of new cars grew for the second year in a row in 2018 after nearly five years of contraction. In 2017, the new car market grew by 12%, and in 2018 by 13% to 1.8mn vehicles.
As for the slip in February, for the AEB is was, "not entirely unexpected" as the consumer confidence has been in decline for several months now. Consumer confidence dropped sharply in January to crisis-years levels.
"The key question is where the market is headed in the coming few months – back to stability and growth or in the opposite direction," the report asks, noting that the present outlook is not too strong. AEB also warned that recently announced government measures in support of car purchases, e.g. for young families, are too limited in scope to make a fundamental difference to the overall market.
Previously the sales of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in Russia in 2019 were forecasted to grow by 3.6% to 1.87mn units, according to AEB.