* Output rises 0.3 pct despite one less workday
* Fiat leads sales; GM nearly ties VW for second place
SAO PAULO, June 6 Brazil produced a record
number of automobiles in May as car makers took advantage of tax
breaks on locally made vehicles.
Production edged up 0.3 percent from April to
348,100 new cars, trucks and buses, the national automakers
association Anfavea said on Thursday. The rise came despite one
less workday in May, which led to a 5.2 percent sales drop.
Concerned that weak demand was hurting a sector making up a
quarter of Brazil's industrial output, President Dilma Rousseff
announced tax breaks last May for locally made cars and trucks.
The lower industrial taxes, which are passed on to consumers,
have been extended to the end of 2013.
Brazil is the world's fourth-biggest car market. More than
70 percent of the market is concentrated among Italy's Fiat SpA
, Germany's Volkswagen AG and U.S.-based
General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co.
Fiat remained Brazil's top seller of cars and light trucks
in May, with 67,846 new registrations, down 2 percent from
April. VW barely held second place over GM, selling 53,868
passenger vehicles last month compared to the U.S. automaker's
53,824 cars and light trucks. Ford sold 27,545 vehicles.
Korean car maker Hyundai Motor Co moved up the
sales ranks in May, passing Renault SA with 19,091 new
registrations compared to the French rival's 18,110 sales.