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First post crisis increase of Russian cars sales

Russian car sales made a year-on-year increase in April for the first time in 1 1/2 years thanks to the government's cash-for-clunkers program, the Association of European Businesses said Wednesday.

First post crisis increase of Russian cars sales

Russian car sales made a year-on-year increase in April for the first time in 1 1/2 years thanks to the government's cash-for-clunkers program, the Association of European Businesses said Wednesday. The passenger and light commercial vehicle market grew 20 percent, compared with the same period last year, to 163,299 cars, the association said. The last month of growth was September 2008, when sales grew 11 percent to 250,000 cars. The market had consistently contracted each month since October 2008. "[April] was the first full month in which the utilization program functioned, and the results conclusively show the influence of the program, especially in the economy segment of the market," David Thomas, head of the association's auto committee, said in a press release.

The cash-for-clunkers program, which went into effect on March 8, offers 50,000 rubles ($1,650) in a government rebate on selected models for consumers who trade in cars that are at least 10 years old. The program is slated to offer 200,000 such rebates and run until Nov. 11. The AEB last month raised its full-year forecast to 1.6 million cars from the 1.47 million sold last year. "All in all, [this month's] result confirms our increased forecasts for 2010," Thomas said. AvtoVAZ, Russia's largest carmaker, has been the biggest beneficiary of the program, with almost 80 percent of the program's rebates going toward Ladas.

Lada sales in April jumped 54 percent year on year to 52,449 cars. "The utilization program … definitely revived demand for traditional Russian automobiles. We are seeing stable growth already for the second month in a row," said Martin Jahn, deputy chairman of the committee. The second most popular make remained Chevrolet, whose sales rose 30 percent to 11,648 vehicles over the period.


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