Russia has just passed Germany as Europe's largest market for new car sales -- for the first half of the year, at least. In fact, Russian consumers managed to snatch up 41% more cars for the first half of this year as compared to the previous year. Not only that, but the vehicles being sold in Russia are more profitable than before as well, with the record $33.8 billion in sales so far an increase of 64%. Top marques are General Motors and Hyundai, which replace last year's first and second place finishers, Ford and Toyota. Russian brands? Not so much.

Don't expect the sales figures to cool down any time soon, as the economy in Russia is still booming and it's the middle-class that is seeing the biggest benefit. Older cars will continue to be taken off the road as consumers purchase new replacements which will allow automakers to find an estimated 20-percent of the entire industry's growth in the Russian market over the next several years.

[Source: Inside Line]