First of a batch of Hyundai Brazil-made HB20s head off for Paraguay

First of a batch of Hyundai Brazil-made HB20s head off for Paraguay

Following BMW, which will begin X1 SUV exports from its Brazilian assembly plant to the US next month, three other automakers have decided to hire temporary workers to help fill new orders from overseas due to increased competitiveness following devaluation of the Brazilian real versus the US dollar.

Renault has recruited 550 extra workers for its factory in São José dos Pinhais, Paraná state, to meet orders for Sandero, Duster Oroch and Logan from South America neighbours Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru.

In Camaçari, Bahia state, Ford has recalled 180 employees laid off since March to build extra Ka, Ka+ and EcoSport models for export.

Meanwhile, 200 jobs at the troubled General Motors plant in São José dos Campos, São Paulo state, have been opened up to meet orders for mid-size Chevrolet S10 pickups from Argentina and Mexico.

GM has forecast a 52% rise in exports to 100,000 completed units (not including CKD kits for assembly in destination country).

Although the jobs are temporary only, the 1,200 hires almost offset the near-1,400 sackings the Brazilian industry had to make this year to deal with a 27% slump in local market sales in the first five months of 2016.

Local industry lobby group Anfavea has forecast domestic sales to fall 19% in full year 2016 though exports will grow 21%.

The Brazilian economic crisis has led to a change of mind at the local Hyundai unit which has both its own plant and a contract assembler. The in-house unit initially was set up to assemble the compact HB20, developed exclusively for Brazil, with no export plans, but now will be sold abroad.

The model is currently Hyundai Brazil's second most popular model and has boosted the Piracicaba plant, in rural São Paulo state, to three-shift operation though the assembly rate has now slowed, despite the model winning market share.

An initial 600-unit order for the HB20X 'pseudo adventurer' version is being shipped to Paraguay.

Hyundai is not saying if this export deal is a one-off nor if there are more orders in the pipeline from other South American countries.

The brand is weak in Argentina, the main destination for Brazil-made cars.