MOSCOW, April 18 Russia's largest car maker AvtoVAZ will cut its 2013 sales and production forecasts due to the weak state of the market, the company's chief executive said on Thursday.
"We saw a certain decline in sales in March," Igor Komarov told reporters on the sidelines of a business forum. "We expect that in April the (growth) result will be also negative compared to April of 2012."
Komarov said the company, which Franco-Japanese alliance Renault-Nissan plans to take control of by mid-2014, would come up with a revised forecast in May. It had previously forecast yearly sales of 550,000 cars in the domestic market.
Sales of new cars in Russia fell 2 percent year-on-year in March, according to the Association of European Businesses, which expects total full-year sales to be broadly flat on the 2012 figure of 2.94 million.
Komarov said he expected AvtoVAZ's sales to decline in 2013 as a whole. In the first quarter, sales were down 1.8 percent year-on-year to 107,427 vehicles.
Western car makers such as General Motors, Ford , Renault and Fiat have invested heavily in Russia in the hope of increased sales to the country's growing middle class.
But a slowing economy and concerns about economic troubles in Europe have caused would-be buyers to pull back.
The Russian car market is still expected to overtake Germany, currently Europe's biggest by number of cars sold, some time this decade.