Russia forecasts 2.19 million vehicles will be sold in 2011, lower than expectations by private industry body the Association of European Businesses (AEB), which predicted an 18 percent rise to 2.24 million cars in January 2011. The AEB estimates that Russian car sales will return to pre-crisis levels of 2.9 million units in 2012.
The Russian government is expecting a near 15 percent growth in its car market in 2011, around half last year's 30 percent rate, when the industry began to rebound strongly towards pre-crisis levels.
The head of Trade Ministry’s car industry department expressed optimism on the future of the automotive market in 2011. His department is responsible for Russia's state-sponsored scrappage scheme, which has done a lot to revive sales of locally produced cars after its introduction in March 2011.
The system, which increased sales of AvtoVAZ-produced Ladas, awarded RUB50,000 ($1,709) to drivers willing to trade in models more than 10 years old.
Russia was set to surpass Germany as Europe's biggest car market before the crisis but sales halved in 2009 as consumer confidence collapsed and access to credit dried up. [via autonews - sub. required]