Blaming the global financial crisis, Hyundai has now confirmed a halt to plans to build a wholly-owned plant in Brazil while Honda now plans to build a new small car in Brazil, rather than construct a new plant in Argentina.

Hyundai had earlier allowed local importer Grupo CAOA to set up a CKD kit assembly line in Anápolis, state of Goiás. The Brazilian financed plant opened in April 2007 and currently builds the HR light truck. It wlll add the Tucson small SUV in the second half of this year.

Late September, top executives from Hyundai headquarters in Seoul told São Paulo state governor José Serra they would spend US$600m to build a new flexible-fuel compact vehicle at the rate of 100,000 units a year.

Construction was planned to start in the first quarter of 2009 ahead of a production start early in 2011.

Hyundai has also postponed building a Russian plant, according to recent reports.

Though Honda Brazil declined to comment to just-auto, a reliable source said the automaker’s first manufacturing plant in Argentina would be postponed though more details were not known.

The City (a saloon version of the Fit/Jazz also made in Thailand and India) would now be built at Honda’s Brazilian plant in Sumaré, São Paulo state. Capacity will be 30,000 units a year, a year from now.

Plans for an Argentina plant could be revived later, the source suggested.

Fernando Calmon