The Brazilian division of Volkswagen will market its new ‘Project 249′ passenger car as the Fox, a name previously used for small Audi and VW sedans sold in the United States.

Dow Jones Newswires said VW decided on the Fox name over the weekend, passing over other potential candidates like the Tupi, which refers to a Native American tribe indigenous to Brazil.

“The (Fox) name has global characteristics and can be used in any country where the new car might be sold,” Volkswagen reportedly said in a statement.

Dow Jones said growing car exports have been the only ray of hope for Brazilian carmakers like Volkswagen, after watching domestic sales slump more than 8% over the first six months of this year.

Exports are expected to rise 20% this year thanks to a weaker local currency and a recently inked trade deal with Mexico, the report added.

Dow Jones said Volkswagen has been quick to grab a slice of the growing export market, and the company’s Gol model is now the top seller in both Mexico and Argentina but VW’s performance in the bigger and more important domestic market has fallen short. Long the top seller of cars in Brazil, the company fell behind both General Motors and Fiat in the first half of 2003.

The news agency said Volkswagen Brazil’s new president, Paul Fleming, expects the new Fox model to help his company win back the top spot at home.