BRAZIL: Germans pile in, Land Rover awaited
Within 48 hours of each other, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen announced new car plant investments in Brazil. The two automakers, together with VW unit Audi (which made a separate announcement in September) will invest about the same amount each: BRL500m/US$230m each, totalling BRL1.52bn/US$690m.
The first to complete its planning was BMW, almost two years before its rivals. Its plant will start producing here within a year while competitors will get going in the fourth quarter of 2015. As currently planned, Mercedes-Benz will build the GLA compact SUV and the redesigned C-Class (to debut at the Detroit show next January). Audi will build the A3 saloon and Q3 compact SUV.
Iracemápolis, 100 miles/160km northwest of the state capital São Paulo, will gain 1,000 direct jobs and a 20,000 unit car plant. Mercedes predicts the total luxury car market in Brazil will grow three-fold to nearly 100,000 units a year in Brazil by 2020.
Mercedes-Benz and Audi will probably each announce a third model by the start of production. After all, BMW will produce three models – 1-Series, X1, 3-Series – to utilise its 30,000 unit plant. Local pundits reckon the A-Class and A3 hatchback would be most likely.
VW - still making the Mark IV here, albeit with updates - has confirmed local production of the Golf VII which conveniently shares its MQB architecture with the A3/Q3 to be built in the same plant. Capacity at São José dos Pinhais, in Paraná state, will increase to 1,000 units daily from 840, adding 700 new jobs. From 2010 through 2016 total investment in the country will amount to BRL9.2bn/US$4.2bn.
It is not clear yet if the Brazilian-made Golf VII will be launched in 2014 or 2015. From mid-2014, VW may import some units from Mexico duty free under the free trade agreement with that country, just-auto has learned. The Golf VII is already on sale here but priced high due to the hefty taxes imposed on models imported from Germany.
The next decision is likely to be Land Rover’s. The British automaker has already advertised on its recruitment website jaguarlandrovercareers.com the the post of quality manager for a future plant in Brazil. Applications close on 31 December and an investment announcement is expectd here soon.