* Ernst & Young estimates 2.9 million cars sold in 2012
* Figure slightly above PwC figures of 2.76 million
MOSCOW, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Russia’s car market increased in value by 21.9 percent to 2.33 trillion roubles ($77 billion) in 2012, according to data from auditing firm Ernst & Young.
Auto unit sales rose 10 percent to 2.935 million, reaching the pre-crisis level of 2008 and in stark contrast with Europe where sales fell to a 17-year low.
Russia’s car market flourished as the economy weathered a global slowdown due to a rise in government spending before President Vladimir Putin’s election in March, while prices for its key export, oil, have stayed above $100 per barrel.
Growth in the value of the Russian car market has slowed from 2011, when it grew 50 percent to 1.9 trillion roubles, Ernst & Young said.
Ernst & Young’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.
In December the auto market increased by just 7 percent year-on-year to 207.2 million roubles, Ernst & Young said.
However, the December results were better in respect of average sale price, which reached a maximum of some 818,600 roubles in December, said the firm.
It compares with an average sale price of 793,600 roubles over the entire year, the data from the accountancy firm showed.
Average car sales in Russia totalled some 194 billion roubles per month, said the firm.
In comparison with the previous year, the average price of a car increased by 10 percent, or 73,000 roubles.
$1 = 30.2072 Russian roubles Reporting By Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Sonia Elks; Editing by David Cowell