* Auto sales jump 19.85 percent in September over August

* January-September sales up 5.49 pct over year earlier

New automobile sales in Brazil jumped 19.85 percent in September from August, the national dealers' association Fenabrave said on Thursday, as consumers raced to take advantage of an expiring tax break.

Sales of new cars and trucks shot up to 296,651 units. Year-to-date car sales grew 5.49 percent from the same period of 2008 to 2.21 million units.

Brazil's automobile market has been one of the strongest in the world in recent months as government tax incentives helped lower car prices and lured consumers to showrooms.

In late June, the government extended breaks on the so-called IPI tax on industrial goods for six months for trucks and for three months for passenger cars and motorcycles. The tax breaks will gradually expire through the end of 2009.

Brazil is a major market for global automakers such as Italy's Fiat SpA (FIA.MI), Germany's Volkswagen AG (VOWG.DE), and U.S.-based General Motors Co [GM.UL] and Ford Motor Co (F.N). (Reporting by Cesar Bianconi; Writing by Luciana Lopez; Editing by James Dalgleish)