Light vehicle sales in Russia were up 13% year-on-year in March, according to data issued by the Moscow-based AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee (AEB AMC).

Russia’s car market is continuing to recover, helped by a boost to the economy from higher energy prices.

The March light vehicle market was put at 252,816 units, with Q1 sales up 19% to 614, 273 units.

David Thomas, Chairman of the AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee commented: “The passenger car and light commercial vehicles market in Russia continued to show sustained growth in March though at a lower level than in the first two months of 2012. We are seeing signs of a more normalised market as stocks of 2011 production year cars fall and supply of 2012 cars comes on stream. There is still a significant range of year on year growth  across different brands. Q1 in 2011 was also a very strong period of growth so 19% growth in Q1 2012 is still a very encouraging performance.”

Thomas also said that the AEB is, for now, sticking to its forecast of 2.8m light vehicle sales for the full year, but will review the forecast again this month.

Although the Lada (AvtoVAZ) brand is the market leader, it saw sales off 15% in the first quarter with many foreign brands seeing large gains.