Fiat was Brazil's top auto seller in June, a slow month for the industry's production and sales due to World Cup fever, manufacturers said Thursday.
Italian automaker Fiat SpA sold 31,165 vehicles in June and a market-leading 173,295 in the first six months, according to the Brazilian Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association, or Anfavea. General Motors Corp. sold 29,608 vehicles, followed by Volkswagen AG with 27,656.
Anfavea said sales dipped from May's record levels because many Brazilians stayed home to watch their soccer team play in the World Cup. Many industries, banks and government offices closed early on Brazil's game days.
The five-time World Cup champions were eliminated in the quarterfinals by France, which plays Italy for the title on Sunday.
In June, auto production fell 6.7 percent from May's record 225,831 vehicles, Anfavea said. Domestic sales slumped 9.6 percent from May, and exports also declined.
"The days on which the Brazilian national team played were lost days for sales," Anfavea President Rogelio Golfarb said.
But he said Anfavea still expects auto production this year to rise 4.5 percent from 2005, while domestic sales should climb 7.1 percent and exports will likely rise 2.7 percent.
Exports were hurt because Brazil's currency has strengthened against the U.S. dollar, he said. But a strong domestic economy and a steady decline in interest rates have helped local sales offset the slump, reports AP.