November 18, 2014 / 10:49 AM / 4 years ago

Volkswagen says to stop selling SEAT cars in Russia next year

File photo of a Volkswagen logo on their XL 1 car during the media day at the Paris Mondial de l'Automobile, October 3, 2014. European new car sales rose 6.2 percent in October from year-ago levels as volume and premium leaders including the Volkswagen and BMW groups recorded stronger demand in key markets. Passenger-car registrations in the European Union (EU) and the countries of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) increased to 1.113 million vehicles last month, from 1.047 million a year earlier, the Association of European Carmakers (ACEA) said November 18, 2014. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen (FRANCE - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS)

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) Spanish division, SEAT, will stop selling cars in Russia by early next year because of an economic downturn and a weakening ruble, the German carmaker said on Tuesday.

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 Volkswagen Group Rus said.

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

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

In 2013, SEAT sales in Russia were a record 3,375 cars, while its total sales last year stood at 355,000.

Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov, Writing by Maria Kiselyova, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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