DaimlerChrysler-brazil.jpg” width=202>DaimlerChrysler of Brazil will tomorrow ship its first batch of 36 locally-assembled C-class sedans to the United States, writes Rogério Louro Alves.

Yet C-class models sold in Brazil are imported fully-assembled from Germany.

This unusual situation is due to the unique Brazilian tariff regulations applicable to vehicle components imported from overseas for local assembly.

If a vehicle is solely for export, its components can temporarily be imported into the country free of industrial product tax.

C-class assembly from German CKD kits started in January at the local DaimlerChrysler plant in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais state.

This year the company expects to build and export 7,000 units to the United States and Canada.

The Juiz de Fora plant assembles the V6 petrol engine-powered C240 and C320 versions with Elegance and Avantgarde trim as well as fully manufacturing the A-class for sale in Brazil and other Latin America markets.

Mercedes-Benz has spread production of the latest C-class more widely than with the previous model. All right-hand-drive production is concentrated in South Africa, in a plant which previously built cars only for African markets.