FRANKFURT, June 15 Russia's slackening growth
and weakening rouble are having a knock-on effect for Volkswagen
and Opel vehicle sales there, German magazine
Der Spiegel reported.
Volkswagen's vehicle sales in Russia are down 10 percent and
Opel's have fallen by 12 percent in the first five months of the
year, Der Spiegel said, adding the declines were not the result
of sanctions linked to the crisis in Ukraine.
Opel had even halted production at its factory in Saint
Petersburg for several weeks, said Der Spiegel, without citing
sources for its report.
"The Russian market is difficult for the time being, however
we remain convinced about its long-term potential," an Opel
spokesman said on Sunday. Volkswagen was not immediately
available for comment.
Economists have trimmed their expectations for growth in
Russia and see GDP expanding by just 0.5 percent this year, a
Reuters poll showed in late May. The rouble is seen weakening to
36.2 to the dollar by the end of the year.
(Reporting by Jonathan Gould and Jan Schwartz; Editing by Mark