UPDATE 1-Russian car sales fall for sixth straight month
MOSCOW, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Russian car sales fell for a sixth straight month in August, down 10 percent year-on-year, an industry body said on Monday, although it predicted sales should stabilise by the year end.
Car sales have been falling as Russia's $2 trillion economy has faltered, causing the Association of European Businesses (AEB) recently to cut its sales forecast for the full year to 2.8 million vehicles, a fall of 5 percent.
The AEB said 231,915 cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs), such as vans, were sold in August, while sales of new cars and LCVs declined 7 percent in January-August overall, compared with last year.
"We maintain our expectation that the market has good chances to stabilize towards the end of the year," said Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the AEB's Automotive Manufacturers Committee.
Analytical agency Autostat said last week that Russia's car market became the largest in Europe in August, overtaking Germany due to a fall in sales in the latter country.
Autostat said in a news release that Russia sold 235,000-240,000 vehicles in August, of which 13,000-15,000 were LCVs.
Car sales in Germany declined in August, casting doubt on the chances of a recovery in vehicle demand there. New auto registrations fell 5 percent year-on-year to 214,100 passenger cars, the VDA industry group said.
Analysts have long expected Russia's car market to become the biggest in Europe but will be looking for evidence that it is sustainably larger than Germany's.
Western carmakers including General Motors, Ford , Renault and Fiat have invested heavily to site production operations in Russia.
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