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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Car Sales Tick Up 31% Versus Year-Earlier Figures

Russian sales of new cars and light vehicles rose 31 percent in May from a year earlier, as the government seeks to extend its cash-for-clunkers program to cultivate demand, the Association of European Businesses said Tuesday.

Purchases rose to 157,937 vehicles from 120,367 a year earlier, the group said, while the figures declined 5 percent in the January-May period to 615,665 vehicles.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said June 3 that the government plans to spend 10 billion rubles ($314 million) more this year on cash incentives for automobile purchases, extending a program that started in March. The program offers 50,000 ruble vouchers toward a new, Russian-built automobile to people who turn in a car more than 10 years old. Nine of the top-10 bestsellers last month were manufactured in the country.

“The scheme continues to have the greatest impact on the cheapest end of the market, and I would urge the government to expand the scheme to all cars, thus also supporting those employed in the retailing and distribution sectors of the automotive industry,” David Thomas, chairman of the AEB’s automobile-manufacturers committee, said in the statement.

The government has already allocated 11.5 billion rubles for the program, which runs through the end of the year.

AvtoVAZ sold 62 percent more units than in the same month last year, while Renault’s sales rose 11 percent. AvtoVAZ’s Lada Priora and Samara models remain the best-selling cars in Russia.