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Russia sales slump drags on for most Chinese brands

Most Chinese automakers continued to suffer steep sales declines last month in Russia, their main export market, according to the Moscow-based Association of European Businesses.

Chongqing Lifan Industry Group; the top-selling Chinese automaker in Russia, sold 1,901 vehicles in the market in August, down 28 percent year on year.

For the first eight months, Lifan’s sales in Russia decreased 17 percent to 13,912 vehicles.

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group; sales in Russia plunged 56 percent to 2,776 vehicles in August. In the first eight months, Geely’s Russia sales tumbled 31 percent to 11,897.

Chery Automobile; sales slumped 33 percent year on year to 1,077 vehicles in August. For the first eight months, its deliveries in Russia dropped 13 percent to 11,446.

China FAW Group Corp. and Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. are latecomers to Russia.

China FAW Group; which started exporting to Russia in 2012, sold 230 vehicles last month in the market, down 59 percent. In the first eight months, its Russian sales dropped 25 percent year on year to 2,164.

Chongqing Changan Automobile;  which launched sales in Russia this year, delivered 102 vehicles last month. Through August, its Russian sales totaled 665.

Chinese automakers’ sales in Russia have slumped as a result of the country’s economic woes. Industry sales in Russia dropped 26 percent in August, and deliveries have declined 12 percent for the first eight months.

To expand their presence in Russia, Great Wall Motor and Lifan are building full-scale assembly plants there.

In August, Great Wall broke ground for a 3.2 billion yuan ($521 million) plant. The factory is due to start production in three years.

Last month, Lifan announced it would spend 930 million yuan to build a plant there. The company has yet to disclose a construction schedule.