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Toyota, Ford slash Russia sales plans – report

  Major auto makers such as Toyota and Ford are being forced to slash sales forecasts for the Russian market, whose promise is being sapped by the credit crisis, Vedomosti newspaper reported on Friday.

 

One month ago, Japan’s Toyota had expected to increase car sales by 15% in 2009, but has since cut that to 5%, the business daily reported, citing Toyota Europe Executive Vice President Thierry Dombreval. But the company does not plan to scale down its investment in Russia, Dombreval said.

John Fleming, president of Ford Europe, said the Russian car market’s growth has now slowed to 5% from 25% at the beginning of the year. Next year, the market could stagnate, he said, Vedomosti reported. This risk was also recognized by Jean-Michel Jalinier, the head of Renault in Russia. He said Renault dealerships are complaining of emptying showrooms over the last month, the newspaper reported.

Renault, however, will assess the market for another 3-4 weeks before deciding whether to revise growth forecasts. The root of the decline is the unwillingness of banks to grant car loans amid the global shortage of liquidity, experts told Vedomosti. (Reuters)