(Corrects instrument code for Volkswagen)

MOSCOW - The world's biggest carmakers have until the end of Monday to sign up for Russia's latest scheme to entice major players and strengthen its local industry ahead of any future crisis.

Russia was on the verge of overtaking Germany to become Europe's biggest car market before the country's 2009 recession caused annual sales to collapse by half.

A sharp recovery in 2010 -- aided by a government sponsored scrappage scheme -- has revived industry optimism about future Russian growth and prompted state attempts to pin down foreign players to invest and support the domestic industry.

The Russian market is very significant and is forecast to remain significant, said David Thomas, chairman of the Association of European Businesses (AEB) autos committee and head of Volvo cars in Russia.

It will get to 4 million units (from 1.91 million in 2010). There is some debate as to when that will be but it is very much the view.

France's Renault has made the biggest commitment by maintaining its 25 percent stake in Lada maker AvtoVAZ through the crisis and indicating it would eventually increase its ownership to over 50 percent alongside partner Nissan <7201.T>.

Other U.S. and European carmakers have submitted a memorandum of intent to the Russian government ahead of Monday's deadline that could see local production rising sharply in exchange for lower import tariffs.

The new regulations -- known as 'decree 166' -- were only announced in late December and will demand a commitment to build at least 300,000 cars a year per production site by 2015, up from just 25,000 according to the existing framework.

In return, car manufacturers will not pay import duties on car components for eight years while the local supply chain improves.

The industry view is that that is a significant change at short notice (but) it's best to try to remain in (Decree) 166, Thomas said.

If you can find a local player close to that capacity it (the 300,000 target) could be fairly easy to bridge, he added.

Volkswagen said last week it had signed up to the new regulations alongside a deal to produce its own vehicles at a plant owned by Russian van specialist GAZ Group .

Italy's Fiat said late on Friday it had also submitted a memorandum of understanding to the Russian government despite the collapse of talks with local player Sollers .

Sollers instead got together with Ford , while truck maker Kamaz has long partnered Germany's Daimler .

One major player yet to reveal its hand is General Motors , although it has said it would assemble 30,000 Chevrolets a year at a GAZ plant and sources have told Reuters it is also in joint venture talks with a smaller firm, Avtotor.

A spokesman for GM declined to comment.

(Reporting by John Bowker; Editing by Louise Heavens)