PwC says Russia isn’t suffering from the tighter consumer credit that has dampened auto sales elsewhere, including Germany. The firm predicted last year that Russia would become the region’s leading auto market by 2011. PwC’s tally includes new vehicle sales, plus sales of used cars imported to Russia.
Russia was Europe’s fourth-largest market in 2007 after Germany, the U.K. and Italy. PwC estimates that
Russia will account for 20% of the world’s growth in auto sales through 2015.
The value of the nation’s auto sales surged 64% to nearly $34 billion in the first half of this year, and General Motors Corp. says demand for their upscale Cadillac and Saab brands in Russia rose 51% and 81%, respectively, during that period. Overall, sales of imported models rose 54% to 785,000 units—nearly half of the total market—for the six-month period. Demand for foreign brands produced in Russia increased 41% to 290,000 units. Domestic brands, whose sales increased 27% to 380,000 vehicles, captured just under one-quarter of total sales. PwC forecasts that demand in Russia could reach 3.8 million vehicles for the full year. That would likely put Russia in fourth place worldwide after the U.S., China and Japan. Sales in fifth-place Germany will be about 3.2 million units this year, according to German auto trade group VDA.