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VW will stop selling Seat cars in Russia next year

VW will stop selling Seat  cars in Russia next year

Volkswagen’s Spanish division, Seat, will stop selling cars in Russia by early next year because of an economic downturn and a weakening ruble.

Cars have been among the biggest losers as Russia’s economy slowed sharply this year, worsened by Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in the crisis in Ukraine and a drop in the oil price.

“The Seat brand is stopping sales of new cars in Russia from January 1, 2015, due to the contraction of sectors in which it is represented, the general economic situation in Russia and currency rate fluctuations,” a spokesman for VW’s Russian operations said on Tuesday.

Russian new-car sales were down 10 percent year-on-year in October and 13 percent in the first 10 months, as the ruble’s decline and worries about the economy forced consumers to delay making large purchases.

Seat sales halved last month to just 78 units, while its 10-month sales were down 57 percent at 1,324, according to data from the Association of European Businesses lobby group.

In 2013, Seat sales in Russia were 3,375 cars in a total market of 355,000, despite a forecast by VW Group in 2012 that the brand would hit sales of 5,000 to 20,000 cars a year.

Seat has 21 dealers in 17 Russian cities.