The value of cars sold in Russia last year is 22 percent higher than in 2011 image

Russia’s car market increased in value by 21.9 percent to 2.33 trillion roubles ($77 billion) in 2012, auditing firm Ernst & Young reveals.

Vehicle sales rose 10 percent to 2.935 million units, reaching the pre-crisis level of 2008, in contrast with Europe where sales fell to a 17-year low, Reuters quotes data from Ernst & Young.

The car market in Russia flourished as the economy weathered a global slowdown due to a rise in government spending before President Vladimir Putin’s election in March. Another cause for the market’s growth was that prices of Russia’s key export, oil, have stayed above $100 per barrel.

Despite the good year, Ernst & Young said growth in the value of the Russian car market has slowed from 2011, when it grew 50 percent to 1.9 trillion roubles. The auditing firm’s sales figures for 2012 are slightly above the 2.76 million reported earlier this week by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which estimated the market will grow 5 percent in 2013 to some 2.9 million cars.

Ernst & Young said the auto market rose by just 7 percent year-on-year in December to 207.2 million roubles. Average car sales in Russia totalled some 194 billion roubles per month, said the firm. Compared with the previous year, the average price of a car increased by 10 percent, or 73,000 roubles.