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Car Imports to Russia Down 50 Percent

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Imports of new cars to Russia dropped 45.4 percent in the first quarter of 2015, as car sales in the weakening economy collapsed, it was reported.

The market for car imports to Russia has been hit hard by the steep devaluation of the rouble, which is down 30 percent against the U.S. dollar since last April. The rouble’s fall has raised the cost of foreign cars and components and sent overall inflation soaring, striking a harsh blow to purchasing power in Russia.

A total of about 140,000 cars and light commercial vehicles were sold in March, down 42.5 percent from the same period in 2014, according to the lobby group the Association of European Businesses.

Car imports totalled 87,300 in the first quarter, according to Autostat. Japanese carmaker Toyota led with 24,000 units — a slight increase from the same period last year — followed by South Korea’s Hyundai with 11,000 cars, 31 percent less year-on-year.