General Motors could become the top-selling automaker in Brazil, above Volkswagen, as soon as this year, an executive told Reuters.

GM has grown its market share in Brazil to 22.9% this year, less than 0.5% behind market leader VW, Maureen Kempston Darkes, president of GM's Latin America, Africa and Middle East (LAAM) region, told the news agency.

"Our goal is to lead in Brazil," she told Reuters at a briefing in Detroit. "There is a chance we would get there this year," she added.

She reportedly said vehicle sales across the industry in Brazil, which boasts Latin America's largest economy, have begun to recover from a downturn and could grow from about 1.5 million cars and trucks this year to about 1.6 million next year. Lower interest rates in Brazil would help make vehicles more affordable and help spur vehicle sales.

Kempston Darkes told Reuters she expects GM's revenues from the LAAM region to grow to between $US8 billion to $8.5 billion this year, up from $5.4 billion last year.

For the first nine months this year, GM has turned a profit from continuing operations of $38 million from the LAAM region compared with a loss of $219 million over the first nine months of 2003, the report said.

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