Russia's new-car sales rose 1.8 percent in January to 102,102 in what is traditionally a slow month for the market.
The increase could be a positive signal for the next few months, which are traditionally stronger, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) lobby group said on Thursday
"January sales volume is traditionally the smallest in the year, so we will have to wait and see where the trend goes in the stronger months of February and especially March," AEB Chairman Joerg Schreiber said.
Russian sales have been hit by low consumer confidence and the introduction of a tax hike last year which reduced demand.
Market leader Lada increased sales 1 percent, while its closest competitor, Kia, fell 5 percent. Third-place Hyundai rose 5 percent, while No. 4 Renault was up 6 percent. Toyota, at No. 5, gained 20 percent, followed by VW brand, which was up 1 percent.
* Download PDF here for January sales by brand.
Other winners were Lexus, up 8 percent; Skoda, up 7 percent; Mercedes-Benz, up 5 percent; and Mazda, up 5 percent.
AEB's data does not include sales figures from BMW for January following the automaker's decision to change the publication of its sales data from a monthly to a quarterly event.