Despite the optimistic forecasts for 2017, sales of new cars and light commercial vehicles in January year on year fell by 5% to 77,916 pcs., according to the Association of European Businesses (AEB). "After very slow first two weeks [in January 2017], the buying activity significantly and consistently increased since the middle of the month, this suggests that buyers accepted the supplies and prices in 2017, and the new reality," says Chairman of the AEB Automobile Manufacturers indicators Committee Jörg Schreiber. "This is a solid base to start at the beginning of the spring season, and with the continuation of the current trend it should be only a matter of time when we will see an increase over the previous year."
However, many car dealers have noticed improvement in their performance in comparison with January 2016: AvtoSpetsTsentr increased its car sales by 6%, Avilon by 7%, Rolf remained at the level of 2016. The prices for new vehicles continued to rise, but large dealers still have reserves of cars stocks for last year's prices; however, they do not last long, said General Director of Rolf Svetlana Vinogradova. In fact, dealers have seen a marked increase in buying activity in January, especially in the segment of mass brands, due to the fact that many companies have extended promotions and sales to get rid of waste, says the general director of Avilon Andrey Pavlovich.
January 2017 was one of the worst in the last 10 years: lower sales were only in January 2010, when 74,000 vehicles were sold. Since 2008, the market was falling, and in early 2010 it reached the bottom, explains the executive director of Avtostat Sergey Udalov, but in mid-2010 due to the program of concessional lending programs and recycling, the market reversed. Now, according to Udalov, virtually all dealers have stimulation program, but the new government support programs, which are planning to be launched in the second half of 2017, are rather limited (for example, "First Car", "Family Car" and others.) And now new models may become main stimulator: thus, Hyundai sales in January fell by 16% in anticipation of a new generation of Solaris.
Compared with December 2016 (the best month of the previous year: 145,668 vehicles sold) sales fell by 46.5%, according to AEB data. January is the traditional time of calm in the car market, associated with long vacations and heavy pre-Christmas spending of the Russians, explains the director of department of sales of the new GK Avtospetstsentr Alexey Potapov. Low season on the automotive market will continue throughout the Q1 and market recovery is expected in the second half of 2017, predicts Vinogradov.
In January 2017 Schreiber predicted the car market growth of 4% this year to 1.48 million units. In the worst case, the market will remain at zero, at best it will rise by 5%, says Pavlovich. The same forecast is given by Alexey Tarasov, Sales Director of Volvo Car Russia. Potapov predicts that the growth of the market could reach 5-7%.