Fast lane for foreign car sales

Sales of foreign cars soared 60 per cent in Russia in the first half of 2006 against the same period last year. They show no signs of slowing.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers said Russians spent almost $9 billion on makes from abroad in the first half of the year. Most popular brands included Hyundai, Toyota and Ford, but Renault, Kia and Chevrolet were catching up, the firm said. The average price in Russia for a new foreign car ranges from $21,000 to $25,000.

Expertssaid increased demand reflected higher disposable income. Sales would continue to accelerate even if Russian GDP slowed its growth, they said. Forecasts are that foreign car sales in Russia could reach one million vehicles this year and two million annually by the end of the decade.