The high speed bowl at Chevrolet Brazils proving ground resembles the one at the former Vauxhall facility (Millbrook) in England

The high speed bowl at Chevrolet Brazil's proving ground resembles the one at the former Vauxhall facility (Millbrook) in England

The Brazilian government's new Inovar-Auto regime introduced in 2013 has provided stimuli for the auto industry to invest a proportion of its revenue in research and is leading to more proving grounds and R&D centres.

There are only two proving grounds in Brazil at the moment, operated by Ford and GM.

Only Volkswagen and GM have research and development facilities altogether with crash test labs, because both design and develop new products here. 

Ford and Fiat (the latter to a somewhat less extent) both began local product design some time ago but crash testing still takes place abroad.

Brazil units of Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroën have limited-autonomy design studios.

Honda, which has just inaugurated a Brazilian tech centre, wants to do more locally but has not yet detailed plans. But just-auto has learned the automaker will build crash test facilities and even a wind tunnel, a local auto industry first, in addition to a proving ground. All this suggests that Honda’s next compact, scheduled for 2016, will be co-developed here.

Under Inovar-Auto rules, smaller brands, those who decide not to invest in R&D facilities of their own, or full importers, will make an appropriate deposit in a government administered fund to finance research and tech centres for the automotive chain as a whole.

It is estimated up to BRL10bn/US$4.4bn could be available.

There is a clear need for public or independent private facilities to provide support to any automaker operating here or from abroad, including component and engineering services suppliers.

Indeed, the federal administration’s National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (abbreviated to Inmetro in Portuguese) is building a huge, complete automotive tech centre in Duque de Caxias in Greater Rio de Janeiro City, due for completion by 2015. Plans include a proving ground and engine labs (for both emissions and fuel consumption).

Recently, Mauá Institute of Technology, a non-profit private body that runs a university centre and another dedicated to research in Greater São Paulo City, announced plans within the scope of Inovar-Auto. It has signed a protocol of intention with the city of São Bernardo do Campo, the cradle of the auto industry 20km/12miles from downtown São Paulo. 

The two organisations will assess the feasibity of a first, independent, Brazilian centre for certification, research and development of vehicle safety and mobility. It could also be integrated with independent proving grounds planned within the state of São Paulo.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more