(Corrects headline and first paragraph to clarify that increase was for car and light truck sales, not total auto sales)
SAO PAULO, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Car and light truck sales in Brazil went up 13.6 percent in 2018 from the previous year, cementing the industry's gradual recovery from a deep recession, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Brazil was one of the world's five biggest auto markets until a recent downturn and, despite last year's growth, numbers remain lower than at their peak in 2012. The country remains a major base of operations for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Volkswagen, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co
Overall, General Motors sold the most cars in Brazil in 2018, the source said, followed by FCA and then by Volkswagen.
Growth in December was particularly significant for Renault , Volkswagen and General Motors, which saw double-digit increases in the month compared with a year earlier, the source said.
Sales totaled 2.47 million, in line with the national automakers' association expectation of 2.46 million units.
In December, sales were up 9.5 percent from the same month a year earlier. (Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr.; writing by Carolina Mandl Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Steve Orlofsky)