December 15, 2016 / 8:11 PM / a year ago

Fiat Chrysler aims for first Brazilian market share gain since 2012

SAO PAULO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is aiming to expand its share of the Brazilian market for the first time in five years in 2017, executives said on Thursday, betting on several new models and the end of a four-year crisis for the local industry.

Sergio Ferreira, commercial director for FCA in Brazil, said market share is not the company’s principal objective, but there is no reason to think it will keep falling.

FCA accounted for about 18.3 percent of the new cars and light trucks sold in Brazil so far this year, down from 19.5 percent in 2015 and 23.1 percent in 2012, when the country’s auto market was nearly twice its current size of around 2 million new vehicles annually.

“Our market share next year won’t be lower than 2016,” Ferreira told reporters at a year-end event. “It should grow.”

FCA launched new pickup and SUV models in Brazil this year that should provide a full-year sales boost in 2017, Ferreira said, adding that those segments are among the few areas of reliable growth in the country.

Two more all-new models next year should also help performance, he said, without giving details. He added that lower interest rates and improved consumer confidence should support the broader market.

“The Brazilian market is not going to keep falling. It hit bottom in 2016,” said Ferreira. “If there is growth, it will be modest - in the single digits ... And even in that conservative scenario, we should be growing.” (Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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