Russian car sales down 4 pct in March - AEB

MOSCOW, April 8 Mon Apr 8, 2013 10:20am EDT

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MOSCOW, April 8 (Reuters) - Russian car sales fell 4 percent in March, year-on-year, after a rise of 2 percent in the previous month, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) said on Monday.

The AEB said 244,030 cars were sold in Russia in March and 616,770 in the first three months of 2013 - flat year-on-year.

It has estimated that 2.95 million cars will be sold in Russia during 2013, flat on 2012's figure of 2.94 million, as drivers curb spending due to concerns about economic troubles in Europe.

"That forecast still stands, but we will have to watch further developments closely. Intake of new customer orders in the first 3 months of the year has not caught up with the strong momentum seen in the same period last year. One reason for that may be the unusually long winter season," the AEB said.

Western carmakers including General Motors, Ford , Renault and Fiat have invested heavily in Russia to take advantage of a market that is expected to overtake Germany as Europe's biggest some time this decade.

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