BRAZIL: Mercedes car build to return via Alliance?
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has told Brazilian journalists the company is most likely to resume car manufacturing in Brazil through its partnership with Renault-Nissan.
A plant in Juiz de Fora, state of Minas Gerais, built in the late 90s for the A-class never achieved planned volume and was used to assemble C-class models (the saloon and CLC for other markets before, after refurbishing, its current rolse making Actros heavy trucks.
Revived Mercedes production would require paint and engine manufacture crucial for meeting the new automotive rules that have boosted local content requirement and this could be done at new facilities the Japanese-French group is currently building in Brazil.
Phillip Schiemer, marketing chief at Mercedes-Benz, reckons new A-class derivatives like the compact SUV or saloon, due on sale within two years in Europe, would be the right choices for Brazilian and neighbouring markets.
Resuming production in Brazil is a strategic necessity for Mercedes after Audi announced a US$2bn plant spend in Mexico (which has a free trade agreement with Brazil) and BMW was expected to confirm its Brazilian plant by June.