More Cash for Clunker Program

Pumping an extra 10 billion rubles ($321 million) into the cash-for-clunkers program will boost the car market by an additional 5 percent, an Industry and Trade Ministry official said Wednesday.

Over 213,000 vouchers have been given out already, and 149,000 cars have been purchased through the program, said Alexei Rakhmanov, head of the ministry's auto department.

The program blew through the first 200,000 vouchers, which count for 50,000 rubles toward the purchase of approved new vehicles, and has already handed out 13,000 of the second tranche of 200,000.

Although the government has not yet officially approved the second stage of the program, the required 10 billion rubles are already earmarked and 200,000 certificates have already been printed for distribution, Rakhmanov said.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has proposed widening the program to include trucks as well, but Rakhmanov said it was too early to talk about such an extension, as the program would have to be retooled to allow for the participation of companies in addition to consumers.

Russian carmakers have benefited greatly from the program, launched on March 8.

AvtoVAZ said last week that sales in the first half jumped 23 percent because of the program. Ulyanovsk-based UAZ has seen a 15 percent growth in demand because of the program and will finish the year with an overall growth of 30 percent to 40 percent, said Anton Karpov, the company's chief of sales.

Imports of passenger cars have decreased by 17.5 percent to 192,200 vehicles for the first five months of 2010. Truck imports have gone up in the same period by 68 percent to 14,300, the Federal Customs Service said Wednesday.

See also:

Cash-For-Clunkers Gets Another $320M

99 Years of ZiL: From Car Plant To Potential New Heart of Moscow?

Putin Sees Cash-for-Clunker Tractors Program for $125M