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AvtoVAZ Sales May Drop 15 Percent in 2014

Russian carmaker AvtoVAZ's sales "may fall 10-15 percent" this year, company president Bo Andersson told Bloomberg television at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Thursday.

AvtoVAZ, which produces Russia's budget suburban Lada, is controlled by international automobile conglomerate Renault-Nissan.

The Russian car market could fall by as much as 15-20 percent this year if the political crisis in Ukraine deteriorates further, Reuters reported last week, citing a study by researcher LMC Automotive.

AvtoVAZ's capacity to cope with such a downturn could be undermined by the fact that its deputy chairman, Sergei Chemezov, was one of the individuals the U.S. imposed sanctions on in March following Russia's annexation of Crimea. Chemezov is the head of conglomerate Rostec, a stakeholder in AvtoVAZ.

AvtoVAZ's sales dropped 12 percent in 2013, ending the year with about 540,000 cars sold. The company held 15.5 percent of the domestic market between January and April this year, according to the Association of European Businesses, Interfax reported.

Despite these possible setbacks, Andersson said Thursday that the company plans to take 20 percent of the Russian market by 2016.

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