UPDATE 1-Russia car sales down 12 pct in May -AEB

Mon Jun 9, 2014 9:45am EDT

(Adds AEB comment, detail)

MOSCOW, June 9 (Reuters) - Russian car sales fell 12 percent in May, year on year, marking two years of declining sales in the auto sector, an industry lobby group said on Monday, adding the outlook was unlikely to improve any time soon.

Car sales have fallen in four out of five months this year as Russia's weak economy is further hit by Western sanctions over Ukraine and people delay making large purchases.

The Association of European Businesses (AEB) said 201,487 new cars and light commercial vehicles were sold in Russia in May, some 28,000 less than a year earlier.

"Overall market dynamics in April-May are very similar to the same period last year, marking two consecutive years of sales decline," said Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the AEB's Automobile Manufacturers Committee.

A weaker rouble is one factor the AEB has cited for declining auto sales in recent months, since it makes imported cars more costly for Russian consumers.

Schreiber said there was little to suggest change in the short-term.

Brands which have seen sharp sales falls in Russia so far this year include Avtovaz's Lada, down 14 percent, and Ford, down 35 percent, said the AEB, whose statistics are closely watched by domestic car manufacturers.

However, Nissan Motor Co sales were up 29 percent between January and May. (Reporting by Alexander Winning, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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