Russian Car Sales Plunge 38% in February; GM and Ford Sales Twice as Bad

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Sales of new cars and light commercial vehicles in Russia declined by 78,228 units last month compared with the February 2014. Russian consumers purchased 128,298 light vehicles in February compared with 206,526 a year ago.

The Association of European Businesses (AEB) had earlier forecast that vehicle sales will total just 1.89 million this year, a drop of 24% compared with 2014. In the monthly sales report released Tuesday the chairman of the AEB said:

The market is entering a very difficult phase now, and February is only the beginning. Industry sentiment is the next few months will be extremely difficult, and that the market bottom has yet to be found. Good news from the macroeconomic side, such as the recent stabilization of the Ruble, raise hopes for an improvement in the longer term. Until then however, market participants will need patience and a long breath.

The country’s largest auto seller is a group that includes Russia’s Avtovas, France’s Renault, and Japan’s Nissan. The group’s market share rose year-over-year in February, from 31.8% to 35.5%. Measured by unit volumes, however, the group’s sales were down nearly 31%.

Only three brands posted unit sales gains in February: Toyota’s Lexus; Mercedes-Benz; and BMW. Lexus sales rose 11% to 791 units, while Mercedes sales rose nearly 16% to more than 4,600 units. BMW’s sales rose 4.6% to 3,666 units. It’s not too difficult to figure out who is buying new cars in Russia these days.

Volkswagen holds the second largest market share in Russia, and it also gained share in February, rising from 10.6% to 11.1%. However, every one of VW’s brands sold fewer cars in February than it sold in February 2014

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) grabbed the fifth-highest market share behind Hyundai (10.3%), Kia (9.8%), and Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM (6.2%). GM’s share dropped by 6 points year-over-year, from 9.3% in February 2014 to 3.3% this year. GM sold 78% fewer vehicles than it did a year ago.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) saw its market share drop 2 points to just 1.2% of the Russian market. Unit sales fell 78% to just 1,400 light vehicles.

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