Volkswagen topped the new vehicle sales chart in Brazil in January, a month that saw lower interest rates help boost overall domestic sales 15% over a year earlier, automakers said.

Volkswagen sold 32,723 vehicles followed by Fiat (30,9870, General Motors (26,412) and Ford (13,971), Brazilian Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association (Anfavea) said, according to the Associated Press (AP).

January sales totaled 152,931 vehicles, down 25.3% from December but up 15.1% from January 2006, Anfavea reportedly said.

The report noted that January is normally a quiet month for sales, a traditional summer holiday month for many Brazilians, but sales were up from a year earlier as the Brazilian Central Bank continued to lower interest rates.

The country's reference lending rate has been lowered on 13 consecutive occasions over the past year and a half, and currently stands at 13.25%, AP added. Anfavea said 70% of Brazil domestic vehicle sales are financed.

According to the Associated Press, January's overall output of 203,703 units was 4.2% higher year on year and 7.5% more than the 189,432 vehicles made in December 2006.
Flex-fuel vehicles continued to dominate the domestic market in January with sales representing 83% of all new vehicle sales, the news agency said.

Exports declined in dollar terms in January, falling to $US826.3million from $1.1bn in December - a drop of 24.2%. But exports in January rose 3.1% compared to the same month last year, the Associated Press said.