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US automaker predicts sales explosion in Brazil

General Motors (GM) expects to sell one million vehicles in Brazil by 2014, the firm's South America chief has said in an interview.

Jaime Ardila told Bloomberg that he expects to sell 650,000 vehicles this year and see a growth rate of some 68 percent to reach one million in four years time.

He also said that as Brazil's consumers have become wealthier, General Motors' top-end brands have been doing particularly well there, adding that the firm sees "growing prospects" for premium cars.

Bentley opened its first South American showroom in Brazil in April.

If Ardila's predictions are correct, sales of one million vehicles for GM would give it roughly a quarter of the total market in Brazil, which is estimated to grow to some four million cars by 2014.

Detroit-based General Motors is set to invest 5 billion reais (€2.25 billion) in Brazil through 2012, following similar investments made by European rivals Volkswagen and Fiat.

In November 2009, Volkswagen said that it would pump €2.3 billion into the new facilities in the country, describing it as "one of our most important growth markets worldwide."

Although ten percent of GM's current revenue comes from Brazil, the investment underlines the importance it attaches to emerging markets and the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) nations in particular.

On July 7, the automaker announced that its Chinese sales were up by almost a half in the first six months of 2010, with a "dramatic jump" in sales of its luxury Cadillac range in the region.