April 5, 2018 / 11:23 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Russian car sales seen up 10 pct y/y in 2018 -AEB

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MOSCOW, April 5 (Reuters) - Russia’s car market is seen growing 10 percent year-on-year in 2018, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) lobby group said on Thursday, as a modest rebound in the Russian economy helps support sales.

After four consecutive years of decline, Russia’s car industry is now recovering faster than anticipated as the economy returns to growth.

Having previously refused to give a 2018 forecast because of uncertainty over future government support measures, the AEB now sees new car sales in Russia increasing to 1.75 million units this year, up from the 1.6 million sold in 2017, the AEB said.

But annual sales are still seen well below a market peak of nearly 3 million a year reached in 2012.

“AEB members forecast total market sales to improve by about 10 percent compared to 2017, to a level of 1.75 million units,” Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the AEB automobile manufacturers committee, said in a statement.

Sales of new cars in Russia increased 13.9 percent to 157,279 units in March, the AEB said, the 12th consecutive month of market growth.

“From now on, it will be harder, at the same time significantly more valuable, for the market to achieve substantial growth rates on a continuous basis,” Schreiber said. (Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Maria Kiselyova; writing by Jack Stubbs; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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