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Automobiles

Honda to stop selling cars in Russia in 2022 after failing to make dent

Market with under 2,000 cars sold per year becomes latest target for retreat

TOKYO -- Honda Motor will end sales of new autos in Russia in 2022, bowing out of a market where sales have languished as part of a broader consolidation.

The move, announced by the Tokyo-based carmaker's local arm, is "a step toward restructuring and rightsizing our business," said a Honda public relations representative in Japan.

Honda's lack of vehicle factories in the country and the brand's struggle to gain traction likely factored into the decision.

The company once sold tens of thousands of autos in Russia each year, but data from research firm MarkLines shows the total for 2019 at only about 1,800. The 2020 figure is expected to be even lower, with sales hovering around 100 vehicles a month.

Honda now offers just two auto models in Russia: the CR-V and Pilot sport utility vehicles. Since 2016, Hondas in Russia have been imported and sold by dealers rather than by the automaker's Russian arm.

Withdrawing from the Russian market, which contributes little to sales, should help streamline development.

Honda plans to continue selling motorcycles in Russia as well as providing after-sales service for autos. "There will be no effect on local employment," the automaker said.

The company has been shuttering factories at home and abroad to improve profit margins. In 2020, it ended auto production in Argentina and the Philippines and consolidated Indian production from two factories to one. A British plant in Swindon is slated to be shut down in 2021.

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