Sales of new passenger cars cars and LCVs in Russia increased by 72% year-on-year in January according to data released by the Moscow-based AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee.

Light vehicle sales reached 127,564 units in January versus 74,002 units in the same month last year. While there is a ‘base effect’ due to the low number last year, the high growth number in January will be seen as further evidence of recovery to demand.

Market leader Lada sales in January were up 105% in January to 35,540 units.

David Thomas, Chairman of the AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee commented: “It is very encouraging that the momentum from 2010 has continued into 2011. January is of course a short month with lower historical volume but it is a good start to a year in which we’ve forecasted close to 20% growth.”

Mark Ovenden, Vice-Chairman of the AEB AMC added: “We are pleased to see that the Russian industry started very strongly in January, up 72% versus last year. With high oil prices driving the economic recovery and the continuation of the scrappage and government loan program, the foundation is there for a very good year provided these fundamentals stay in place.”

Russia’s light vehicle market reached 3m units in 2008 before severe recession caused it to halve in 2009. Last year the market stabilised, underpinned by a scrappage scheme that has benefited domestic producers in particular.

See also: BRIEFING (3): BRICs lead the way