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The high growth rate, supported by strong demand in the first half of the year, is not expected to be repeated in 2013 due to weaker consumer confidence and tight lending conditions. 

Sales of new cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in Russia rose by 11% to 2.94 million units in 2012, the Assn of European Businesses said earlier this month.

The association expects sales in 2013 to remain flat at 2.95 million units.

Although Russia’s automobile market has been growing rapidly over the past few years, car ownership in the country is still much lower than in Europe and the USA, and the cars on the road tend to be quite old.

The potential for sales that this situation creates has tempted Volkswagen, Ford, General Motors, Renault, Nissan and other multinational car manufacturers to build plants in the country.

Domestic steelmakers actively target these manufacturers as potential customers.