Russian car and light commercial vehicle sales grew 14 percent year-on-year in July to 255,560 units, which was a record for the month, the Association of European Businesses said on Wednesday. Sales were up 10 percent in June.
Through seven months, Russian vehicle sales were up 14 percent to 1.67 million. Russia has overtaken France, where seven-month sales of cars and light commercial vehicles totaled 1.44 million, according to figures from Paris-based automaker's association CCFA.
Analysts expect Russia to pass Germany as Europe's biggest market some time this decade. Germany's car and LCV sales total for the first seven months of 2012 reached 2.01 million, according to the German auto industry association (VDA).
The AEB expects that 2.85 million vehicles will be sold in Russia this year, which would be an increase of about 8 percent from the previous year.
Chinese manufacturers continued to make gains in the Russian market. The top five sellers, including Lifan, Chery and Geely, posted sales of 6,700 vehicles in July, a rise of 84 percent from the same period last year.
AvtoVAZ's Lada remained the country's top-selling brand last month despite a 7 percent sales decline. No. 2 Chevrolet increased sales 28 percent for the month and third-ranked Renault grew by 24 percent. (See PDF of Russia sales results, below)
Douglas A. Bolduc contributed to this report