Honda announced plans to invest BRL4.2bn (US$803m) in Brazil by 2030 to strengthen local production of flexible fuel vehicles, according to local reports citing an official at its local subsidiary.

Flex fuel vehicles in Brazil typically run on either petrol or ethanol which is derived from the country’s abundant agricultural crops such as sugar cane, or a combination of the two fuels.

The automaker’s latest investment was expected to create 1,700 jobs at its factory in Itirapina, near Sao Paolo, where it planned to develop a new hybrid flex fuel model which can run on 100% ethanol.

The company also plans to launch a new entry level SUV in 2025.

That followed similar investment announcements in the country by Hyundai, Volkswagen, General Motors, Stellantis and Toyota over the last year.

Brazil president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva welcomed Honda’s new investment plan as a sign of growing confidence in the country as a regional manufacturing hub.

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Honda aims to increase Itirapina output to 150,000 vehicles by 2030 from an expected 100,000 this year, targeting both local and regional markets.