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PSA Peugeot Citroen is to spend EUR135m (US$200m) in Argentina this year, underscoring its commitment to Latin America.

Director general for Argentina Osvaldo Banos told AFP the plan, which he discussed Monday with President Cristina Kirchner, calls for a new mid-range vehicle to be launched late this year, and for two new versions of vehicles already manufactured there.

The group employs 3,500 people at a facility in Buenos Aires province. It produced 134,780 vehicules in 2008. Some engines are shipped in from PSA plants in Brazil. The industry hit a national record high 597,086 vehicles the same year.

“Latin America, and particularly Brazil, play a key role in achieving our goal of becoming a more global company,” PSA chief executive Philippe Varin said last week when announcing a EUR530m investment for Brazil to the end of 2012.

In 2009, the Brazilian Porto Real plant built 111,000 units (15% exported) and 152,000 engines (35% for export, mostly to Argentina). Present annual capacity on three shifts with some weekend work tops 160,000 vehicles and 220,000 engines.

Vincent Rambaud, PSA group president for Brazil and Latin America, said last month: “new investments under study, additional to the US$500m for the 2008-2011 period, might include production capacity increase in the region.”

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