ST. PETERSBURG – The RAV4 has given Toyota new life in the Russian automotive market, where it has doubled production and increased exports even as domestic sales remain flat.

The Japanese automaker’s St. Petersburg plant assembled 23,107 RAV4 compact SUVs and 21,476 Camry sedans in the year’s first eight months. Toyota plans to launch production of the current-generation Camry in 2018.

Toyota sales in Russia totaled 59,785 in January-August, according to the Association of European Business. That included 3,876 units exported to Kazakhstan, Belarus and other Commonwealth of Independent States countries, almost 70% more than in like-2016.

The automaker plans to tap into Russian SUV demand by putting the new Land Cruiser Prado and Fortuner on the market by the end of this year.

Toyota sales of 59,785 in the year’s first eight months were down 0.2% from year-ago, according to WardsAuto data.  Deliveries of the automaker’s Lexus luxury brand totaled 14,532, down 3.6%. The overall Russian light-vehicle market was up 9.6%.