AvtoVAZ says its March sales have been lifted by the Russian government’s new scrappage scheme.

Russia’s largest carmaker AvtoVAZ has sold 7,109 cars under the Russian government’s ‘cash for clunkers’ programme as of Wednesday, the company’s press office said in a statement.

Under the programme, which started operating on 8 March, owners of cars produced in 1999 or earlier can receive bonuses worth RUB50,000 to buy new Russian-made cars in exchange for recycling their old cars.

The Lada producer sold more than 32,000 vehicles last month, its Vice President for sales and marketing Maxim Nagaitsev said, up from 20,147 in February and a 6 percent rise year on year.

He added that sales had been boosted mainly by the popularity of the scrappage scheme — based on similar programmes that revived sales in Western markets including Germany — and the seasonal benefits of warmer weather.

Market analyst firm JD Power says that Russia’s car market will increase by around 10 percent from 2009 to 1.6m units in 2010, the gain being driven by the scrappage incentive.