Brazil has overtaken Germany as the fourth largest car market in the world, with sales of new vehicles in the South American hub up almost 10 percent over 2009 levels.
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Brazil’s national automobile manufacturers’ association, Anfavea, predicts that by the end of 2010 a total of 3.45 million vehicles will have been sold for the calendar year.

That figure would be enough to edge ahead of Germany, and place Brazil behind only China, the US and Japan in terms of new vehicle sales.

Brazil’s population is 192 million (around nine times that of Australia), and with just 30 million vehicles in the country there is approximately only one vehicle for every seven people.

Anfavea president, Cledorvino Belini, told AFP he believed there was plenty of scope for significant growth in the market, especially on the back of the nation’s current thriving economy.

“This in itself is already big attraction for a growing market, with a low density of vehicles per inhabitant,” Mr Belini said.

Mr Belini is also the head of Fiat Brazil, the country’s most popular brand.

Fiat’s market share currently sits at 23.1 percent, marginally ahead of German giant Volkswagen (22.7 percent) and General Motors (21.2 percent).

Last week, Fiat announced a $1.8 billion investment to build a second vehicle manufacturing plant in Brazil. It is part of a larger $5.9 billion strategy to fully ingrain the brand in Brazil over the next four years.

“We have competent workers. We also have all the primary materials for our product,” Mr Belini said.

Brazil is also rocketing up the charts in terms of vehicle manufacturing. In 2010, around 3.64 million vehicles from 17 different brands have been produced, and that is likely to expand in the future with South Korean and Chinese brands expected to establish offshore production bases in Brazil.