Carmakers in Brazil last month notched their strongest sales in nearly four years. Photo: Supplied

SAO PAULO – Carmakers in Brazil last month notched their strongest sales in nearly four years, a leading trade group said on Wednesday, adding to optimism as the auto industry kicked off the biannual Sao Paulo International Motor Show.

Sales of new cars, trucks and buses surged 25.6 percent in October compared with a year earlier to nearly 255 000 vehicles, according to automakers association Anfavea. That was the most since December 2014.

“This means that we are coming back to the years when we had a very strong market,” Anfavea President Antonio Megale told journalists at the car show.

Brazil was one of the world’s five biggest auto markets until a downturn this decade. It remains a major base of operations for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Volkswagen, General Motors and Ford Motor.

Anfavea forecast a solid recovery to continue with double-digit sales growth next year, when Brazil’s president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, has pledged economic reforms to narrow the government's fiscal deficit and bolster employment.

Brazilian vehicle exports, however, are likely to fall this year by more than originally forecast, according to Anfavea, due to economic difficulty in neighboring Argentina.

The group had cut its forecast from a stable outlook to an 8.6 percent drop earlier this month, and Megale said a declining situation in Argentina meant the final result would likely be worse.