Mercedes-Benz do Brasil is to increase its commercial vehicle production capacity due to expected sales growth in Latin America, and particularly in Brazil.

The German automaker will start to use the Mercedes-Benz plant in Juiz de Fora in the state of Minas Gerais during 2011. São Bernardo do Campo, the traditional production plant of Mercedes-Benz do Brasil, will remain the centre of the Brazilian production network.

The deal appears to secure the future of the Minas Gerais plant, which previously produced around only 20,000 units per year.

Mercedes-Benz do Brasil also recently announced an investment to increase its truck and bus production capacity in the São Bernardo do Campo plant to 75,000 units per year by 2012.

“Thanks to this massive investment, the production capacity limit in the São Bernardo do Campo plant will be reached and we will need additional capacity to meet upcoming demand,” said Mercedes-Benz do Brasil president Jurgen Ziegler.

The company added it expected commercial vehicles sales in Brazil and the Latin American markets would exceed the São Bernardo do Campo plant’s production capacity and that it would incorporate the passenger vehicle site in Juiz de Fora where the Mercedes-Benz CLC is made.

“The decision to integrate the Juiz de Fora production plant into the Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle production network makes sure it remains a long-term member of the Daimler family,” said Ziegler.

“It also gives its employees a clear perspective. The plant has a proven and well trained team. This expansion is the best option to enlarge our commercial vehicle production network in Brazil. The supplier network in this region will also be increased accordingly.”

Mercedes-Benz added further details concerning commercial vehicle production at the plant would be announced when discussions with what it refers to as “responsible partners” have been concluded.