Analysts and consultants are in broad agreement that the Russian car market is well placed to continue to grow this year.

Upbeat assessments of market demand in Russia are based on an economic uplift – helped by higher energy prices - that is lifting real incomes and private consumption.

The Russian car market halved in 2009 to an estimated 1.4m units. A scrappage scheme and some uptick to the Russian economy helped it grow to an estimated 1.9m units in 2010.

Consultants at PwC forecast 2011 car sales in Russia will grow by around 20%-35% as consumer spending grows and a government sponsored scrappage scheme continues to aid buyers. The Association of European Businesses (AEB) in Russia forecasts that sales in 2011 will rise 17% to 2.24m.

Consultants at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) predict that the Russian car market may become the world's sixth-largest by 2020, up from tenth currently, selling some 4m cars a year. BCG projects that the Russian light vehicle market will be close to the pre-crisis peak of 3m units by 2013.

"The Russian automobile industry has been the roller coaster of the BRICs ...for the past 18 months, but now it is firmly back on track," Ewald Kreid, head of the Industrial Goods practice in BCG's Moscow office, said in the note.