Recently published research from Business Monitor International, "Russia Autos Report Q4 2013", is now available at Fast Market Research
Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/02/2013 -- This quarter, BMI has revised its 2013 new vehicle sales forecasts downwards, against a backdrop of falling sales year-to-date. Light vehicle sales in Russia declined by 8.3% year-on-year (y-o-y) in July, to 234,569 units. Over the first seven months of the year, sales in this segment have now declined by 6.2% y-o-y, to 1,567,892 units. Following the strong decline in sales volumes, and with the country's weak consumer story increasingly impacting the segment, we are downgrading our 2013 passenger car sales forecast to a 5% decline, to 2.6mn units, from a 3% fall previously, and now forecast a 5% decline in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment, to just below 180,000 units, down from a drop of 4% previously.
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The ongoing erosion in Russian consumer sentiment is having a strong impact on the light vehicle segment, and the market has declined sharply in the last few months. BMI has long maintained that 2013 would see a slowdown from 2012 levels, when light vehicle sales in the country increased by 11%, to 2,935,111 units. Despite strong y-o-y sales growth in the early part of 2012, sales moderated in line with our forecasts on the back of subdued private consumption in the second half of the year.
Moreover, BMI has become increasingly bearish on the Russian consumer story. We believe this erosion of private consumption will continue into the second half of 2013 as unemployment creeps upward, real wages dip, and access to credit slows. This has also informed our bearish 2013 vehicle sales forecasts revisions.
One potential support for local car sales may come from the government's July 2013 announcement that it is to implement a new car-loan subsidy programme. Under the scheme, banks will provide subsidised loans until the end of 2014 to customers buying cars that cost RUB700,000 (US$21,300) or less. A similar programme had been in place between 2009 and 2011, as the government sought to revive the autos sector. As the latest scheme was announced, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said that he hoped the new loan subsidies would help automakers sell an additional 250,000 cars a year. Similarly, the retail arm of bank VTB Group reportedly expects car loans to increase 1by 3% in 2013 on the back of this new programme. We expect the market impact to be more limited this time, however, as the country's macro picture is rather more bearish. As such, although the implementation of the car-loan subsidy programme later this year may serve to boost sales somewhat, we expect this to have a limited impact in volume terms and, as such, BMI maintains a bearish view on the market.
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