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Brazil: Fiat to build new plant; Chrysler considering small SUV

by Bill Cawthon on

just-auto.com, the English auto industry news source, says Fiat will invest $4.4 billion to build a new plant in Goiana, a city in the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco. The new plant will produce a vehicle to replace the Fiat Uno Mille, which has been in production since 1984. In addition to producing 300,000 vehicles annually, the plant will also be able to build engines and transmissions.

An estimated 12,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created: welcome news for the region. Even though Pernambuco has the highest GDP in the northeastern region of Brazil, an estimated 41.6% of the population lives in poverty.

Cost for a Uno Mille replacement is likely to be a big issue; the Mille, which is considered an entry-level car, currently lists at at about $13,500. The Fiat Palio, a similarly configured vehicle, which is also produced in Brazil, lists for $17,900.

just-auto Editor Graeme Roberts reports that Chrysler also wants to get in on the action. According to the article, Luiz Tambor, Chrysler’s sales and marketing manager for Brazil, says the company is considering building a small crossover for the region. Brazil is a good market for tricked-out, two-wheel-drive vehicles with extra ground clearance. Tambor expects a decision next year with a 2014 launch. The platform would be a joint development with Fiat and the vehicle will most likely be produced by Fiat Automóveis S.A., Fiat’s Brazilian subsidiary.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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