Russian car sales, battered by weaker economy, collapse by 24 pct in January

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

An industry group says the Russian car market, which was on the way to become Europe's largest a few years ago, plunged by 24 percent in January.

The Association of European Businesses said in a statement on Monday that the year-on-year drop in sales follows strong demand at the end of 2014, when customers were in a hurry to buy foreign cars before prices rose.

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The Russian currency has lost more than half of its value in the past year and its collapse gained full speed at the end of the year. Russians flocked to buy expensive durable goods and cars before the retailers hiked the prices to match the current exchange rate.