Car Sales in Russia Went Down By 43% Last Month

Things are not looking rosy for the Russian auto market as the country's economy is falling into recession at an alarming rate.
Chevrolet Camaro 1 photo
Photo: Chevrolet
Rusia is now a hostile environment for car makers after the ruble collapsed last year. As a result, the cost of imported goods - cars included - went up, way above the population's purchasing power.

According to the Association of European Businesses cited by Autonews, sales of new cars and light commercial vehicles contracted to 139,850 units in March after last year's figures were showing that 243,332 cars were sold in Russia.

As manufacturers like Volkswagen and PSA Peugeot Citroen are planning to dissolve jobs in Russia, General Motors took more desperate measures. Like we reported last month, the American giant will shut down its St. Petersburg facility and withdraw Opel and a big portion of Chevrolet' portfolio from Russia.

"What we are seeing now in the sales statistics is the long-predicted ‘hole’ in consumer demand, caused by the pull-ahead of car purchases at the end of last year, and compounded by heavy price inflation in the current year. The situation will stabilize, but we are not at this point yet," explained Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the business association’s Automobile Manufacturers Committee.

In addition, the inflation caused by Western bans on Russia is also pressing consumers and scaring off investors. However, brands like Chevrolet will continue to offer the Corvette, the Camaro and the Tahoe while Opel will be pulled out completely from the market. Officials think that forecasts for the Russian new car market are not at all satisfying over the short, medium and long term.
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