As the Moscow Motor Show opened, a revival in sales in Russia has car makers revving up their growth forecasts for the year.
Russia’s car market is fast emerging from the crisis with the return of cheap loans and growing consumer confidence.
Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota all unveiled new models and said they would increase the number of vehicles they build in Russia.
Last year the Moscow show was cancelled as the global economic crisis devastated the car industry. Sales nearly halved year-on-year.
Before that Russia was well on its way to overtaking Germany as Europe’s leading car market.
Between January and July 2010 sales were up nine percent on last year although still 45 percent below 2008 levels.
The government expects a 15 percent rise for the year as a whole.
The revival of the Russian car market has been partly based on a state-sponsored scrappage scheme that gives the equivalent of around 1,300 euros to drivers trading in locally made cars that are more than 10 years old.
Organisers expect around 1.5 million visitors – close to the 1.6 million who attended in the 2008 boom year.