Car sales in Russia fell by 63.1% in January, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) said on Monday, as the industry's difficulties under the weight of Western sanctions continued into 2023.

Russia's auto industry has been one of the hardest hit sections of the economy following the imposition of Western sanctions last year after Moscow ordered its troops into Ukraine. Car sales collapsed by 58.8% last year, according to the AEB, which surveys Russian car manufacturers.

Total sales during January were 32,499 vehicles, down from 91,662 in the same month of 2022.

The industry had previously been heavily reliant on Western investment, joint partnerships, supply chains and parts - all of which remain seriously disrupted.

The AEB has said it expects car sales to recover by just 12% during 2023 - staying well below the level before Russia launched its military campaign in Ukraine - as the industry struggles to reestablish production and falling real wages push down consumer demand for large-ticket items.

Russia car production slumped 67% in 2022 to just 450,000 passenger cars, the industry's worst showing since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, with an exodus of global carmakers exacerbating the impact of sanctions.

Global carmakers who had built factories in Russia in recent decades left the country in droves and terminated supplies in the process. (Writing by Jake Cordell Editing by Gareth Jones)