Two opposed moves in the automaker-related labour market are on course. While GM has dismissed 598 workers from its troubled manufacturing plant in São José dos Campos, in São Paulo state, Hyundai has started hiring 600 to 700 people for a third shift at the Piracicaba plant, also in São Paulo state.

Negotiations with the radical local GM union dragged on for three years but agreement was only partial. The plant will get a minute investment but with no new product in sight. A second dismissal round could happen by year end.

Over 1,500 jobs have now migrated to GM's São Caetano do Sul (Greater São Paulo City) and Gravataí (Rio Grande do Sul state) units both working at three-shift pace, besides the new Joinville, Santa Catarina state engine plant.

Even the troublesome plant is not apparently threatened with closure in the short term. But this is more likely in the medium or long term, according to specialists just-auto spoke to.

As for Hyundai Motor Brazil, a direct investment by the parent company, a third shift was considered for late 2013 only. But the success of the HB20 range sparked bringing forward a capacity increase by at least six months.

The target is the Brazilian market exclusively, the automaker said. Exports are not yet but are likely to be minimal and restricted to the Mercosur region.