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Jeep expanding in Latin America

by David Zatz on

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles released its plans for Latin American expansion today. The company has already gone from 18,500 to 25,800 active workers in the region, with numerous plants and highly flexible production at its new sites.

Fiat plans to introduce Jeep in Brazil, where 278,000 SUVs were sold in 2013, later this year, grabbing an increasing share, particularly in 2015 and 2016. The Renegade will be produced locally in 2015; Cherokee, Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, and “one more” (probably the Compatriot replacement) Jeep are planned for sale. Jeep dealers will use the existing network where possible, but with “rigorous prerequisites for multi-brand formats;” they plan on having 110 dealers by 2015 and 250 by 2018.

Fiat and Jeep are to be the major drivers of growth in Latin America, with Dodge, Chrysler, and Ram remaining minor players and staying at their current level.

Nearly six million cars and trucks were sold in Latin America in 2013 — 3.6 million in Brazil, 0.9 million in Argentina. Fiat Strada has 50% of the small pickup market in Brazil (selling 123,000 units). Brazil has gone from 25 models in 1992 to 220 in 2013; the top four manufacturers are Fiat, VW, GM, and Ford, with a combined 67% share. FCA currently has a 23% share, relatively stable over the years.

Building Jeeps in Brazil

Willys-Overland once had a plant in Brazil; Jeep, in need of another 250,000 SUVs per year in capacity, will be moving back to the large South American nation, according to Fiat’s Stefan Ketter.

Fiat’s Betim plant in Brazil will be able to build a car every 20 seconds in early 2015, with six body-in-white lines and four assembly lines. It will be Fiat’s largest single industrial project, ever, with an on-site supplier park and surrounding space protected to expansion will be possible.

The first product will be the Jeep Renegade; two other vehicles will be added in 2015 and 2016, using the small-wide architecture.

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