Russia’s May auto sales soar 134% in lockdown rebound

Used cars for sale are on display at an open air automobile market in the far eastern city of Vladivostok
FILE PHOTO: Used cars for sale are on display at an open air automobile market in the far eastern city of Vladivostok September 15, 2014. REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev

June 4, 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Sales of new cars in Russia totalled 147,378 vehicles in May, up 133.8% from the same month last year, when a strict coronavirus lockdown was in place, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) said on Friday.

“The same situation we will observe in June, but we will see a more realistic year-on-year monthly comparison from July on,” Thomas Staertzel, chairman of the AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee, said in a statement.

Car sales in Russia fell 9.1% in 2020, hit by restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The very high level of sales growth in May was to be expected, given the “pandemic lockdown effect” last year, Staertzel said.

April sales of new cars had increased more dramatically, rising by 290.4% from the same month a year earlier, which was hardest hit by coronavirus lockdown measures.

April retail sales, meanwhile, jumped 34.7% year on year, helping the economy to recover after a 3% contraction in 2020, data showed on Friday.

Staertzel said the AEB expects lower sales of new vehicles for most brands in the coming months because of the worldwide shortage of electronic components.

AEB will renew its annual forecast with its next news release in July, he said.

(Reporting by Maria KiselyovaWriting by Alexander MarrowEditing by Andrey Ostroukh and David Goodman)