MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia plans to restrict state procurement of imported cars in a move that is aimed at helping carmakers which produce domestically to weather a slump in demand.
Car sales have been falling as Russia’s economy falters and a sharp depreciation of the rouble increases prices for imports, prompting people to delay making large purchases.
Although western carmakers have invested heavily to set up local production with an eye to tapping demand from Russia’s growing middle class, many parts still come from abroad, making prices vulnerable to fluctuations in the rouble’s exchange rate.
Russia’s Industry Minister Denis Manturov said on Monday a draft resolution on restricting the procurement of imported cars by state institutions and regional governments has been submitted to the government, Interfax reported.
“It is to be issued and start working in the nearest future,” Manturov was quoted as saying.
He added the government did not have any immediate plans to support the domestic car industry with lending subsidies as was the case in 2013.
The ministry earlier forecast that Russian car sales might fall by between 2.8 percent and 6.5 percent this year after contracting by 5.5 percent last year.
Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Megan Davies, Greg Mahlich