General Motors expects Brazil to become its third-largest consumer market in 2007, according to Ray Young, president of the GM Brazil subsidiary.

Sales to the Brazilian market are expected to rise by 10% this year, up to 450,000 vehicles. Brazil will then be able to surpass Canada, which currently occupies third place, after the United States and China, Young said in a report by China's Xinhua news agency.

The company does not plan to increase its market share in Brazil, where it holds the third-largest share, after Fiat and Volkswagen. The rise in sales would then follow the general growth of the country's estimated car market for 2007, Young added, according to the report.

The executive also stressed that the main aim is to consolidate the subsidiary within the General Motors Corporation.

"Operations in Brazil were important to the company's results in 2006. About 410,000 vehicles were sold on the domestic market, and the subsidiary's revenues reached $US6bn last year, a rise of 12% comparing to 2005," Young said, according to Xinhua.

In the first months of 2007, demand proved that it was the beginning of a promising year. GM plants were not able to meet all orders of certain models, which led to customer waiting lists, a situation Young described as "a good problem."

"However, since the economies are interconnected, the growth expected for 2007 could be compromised in the event that market turbulence, like the current US mortgage market, occurs," he added, according to Xinhua.