Fiat will invest about $US500 million in Brazil between 2005 and 2007 to develop new models and to modernise its plant in Betim city, Minas Gerais state.
The automaker did not confirm, but suppliers told just-auto that the new investment will be for the development of a new medium-sized sedan and to introduce the new generation Palio range. The two new vehicles will be launched in 2007.
The new medium-sized sedan is known as the D200 project and will replace the Marea in Brazil. The new car will be Fiat Brazil’s answer to the growth of the medium-sized sedan segment here following huge sales of the locally-made Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.
At the end of the year GM, will introduce a new sedan developed in Brazil and called New Vectra (but based on the Astra platform) and Renault will launch the Mégane Sedan II, made in its São José dos Pinhais plant.
Brazil is Fiat’s second largest market and a key operation for it in Latin America. The Betim plant supplies countries from Argentina to Mexico.
In 2004, Fiat of Brazil sold 77,000 vehicles in foreign markets and expects to export 100,000 cars this year.