Russian car market deepens plunge with 43 percent drop

MOSCOW (AP) Russia's car market continues its plunge as the country heads for recession, with sales down 42.5 percent annually in March and 36.3 percent for the first quarter as a whole.

Sales in March fell to 139,850 cars from 243,332 in the same month a year earlier, according to the Moscow-based Association of European Businesses.

All of the top 10 car models sold in March are produced in Russia after the plunge in the ruble last year made imports expensive.

U.S. companies are among those whose sales fell most sharply, with Ford down 73 percent.

General Motors said last month it would pull its Opel brand out of Russia entirely by the end of the year and mothball its St. Petersburg factory, while also slashing Russia-based production of the Chevrolet brand.

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