MOSCOW -- Russia's car market is expected to grow by 11 percent this year, the auto industry's lobbying group said, after vehicle sales rose 18 percent in September.
Sales of new cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) are expected to increase to 1.58 million units this year, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) said in a statement on Monday. It had previously said it expected sales to reach 1.48 million units in 2017 versus 1.42 million in 2016.
Russia's car industry has been recovering faster than expected this year thanks to the improving economy.
"September proved to be another good month on the way to a continuous recovery of the Russian car market," Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the AEB automobile manufacturers committee, said in the statement. "Market sentiment is strong that the positive trend will continue in the coming months."
Russia's once-booming auto market became one of the most high-profile victims of a steep economic downturn in the last two years, with sales halving from a peak of almost 3 million a year in 2012. But the industry's prospects have brightened this year on the back of a nascent economic recovery.
One of AEB's automobile committee members -- the head of Kia Motors' Russian business, Alexander Moynov -- told Reuters in September he expected Russian car sales to reach between 1.57 million and 1.60 million vehicles, and expected the AEB to lift its 2017 sales forecast to around the same level.
Monthly winners and losers
Industrywide sales, which are up 11 percent to 1.13 million in the first nine months, increased to 148,371 units in September with all major brands except Toyota showing gains.
Kia with 40 percent growth and Ford with a 33 percent gain were the top performers last month among the major automakers. Lada's sales were up 24 percent, while Renault's volume grew by 22 percent. VW's volume increased 15 percent and Hyundai sales were up 12 percent.
Toyota's sales fell by 10 percent.
- Download PDF, above right, for September and 9-month Russia sales by brand, automaker and group.