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Russian Car Sales May Recover to 2008 Record on Europe Stability

Russian sales of new cars and light commercial vehicles may recover to a 2008 record if Europe’s financial situation remains stable, according to auto manufacturers.

Car sales will probably reach 2.8 million this year, David Thomas, chairman of the Association of European Businesses’ Automobile Manufacturers Committee, told reporters today in Moscow. The volume may rise as high as 3 million, depending on Europe’s economy, or stay at 2.65 million vehicles should the situation worsen, he said. That compares with a record 2.9 million in 2008, according to the group.

“The ingredients for growth this year remain: low level of car ownership, age of vehicles in use” as well as potential in the regions, Thomas said today in a statement. “For this to be realized we will need to see stability in the availability of finance for vehicle purchase and a stable investment climate.”

A global economic slowdown sparked by a European crisis remains a serious risk, Thomas told reporters.

Last year, the market advanced 39 percent to 2.65 million new vehicles, the AEB said in the statement. Growth rates decreased during the year, with the halt of the Russian government’s car rebate program in July. December sales rose 23 percent from a year earlier, the slowest rate since April 2010, reaching 251,414 units.

Car manufacturers are seeking to increase production in Russia to serve a market that may reach 4 million vehicles a year in 2015, according to the AEB.

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