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AEB Sees Car Sales Flat for 2013

Russian auto sales are expected to be more or less flat in 2013 after rising  10.6 percent last year, the Association of European Businesses said Tuesday.

The country has a relatively low ratio of vehicles per person and a comparatively aged fleet on the road, which, alongside a growing middle class, has spurred sales in Europe's second-largest automobile market.

Sales growth slowed at the end of 2012 as people put off making large purchases due to economic uncertainty.

"The next year isn't going to be very easy ... based on the current conditions and the customer demand," said Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the AEB.

"Everything depends on the domestic market environment, and Russia is surrounded by regions where economic development is quite difficult," Schreiber said. "So currently, we are forecasting a market on the level of the market in 2012."

Car sales grew to 2.9 million in 2012, the AEB said, in line with its previous forecast and comparable with pre-crisis levels of 2.9 million in 2008.

In 2013, sales are expected to be between 2.8 million units and 3.1 million units, the AEB said.

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