In the presence of Mike Manley (global CEO of FCA) and John Elkann, representative of the Agnelli family, last week FCA announced that it will invest – together with its suppliers – around US$ 2.1 billion in the historic Betim factory, located in Minas Gerais and another US$ 1.9 billion in the Goiana factory (state of Pernambuco), where Jeep (Renegade and Compass) and Fiat (Toro) vehicles are produced.
More than 100 million euros, of those invested in Betim, will be destined for the production of new turbo engines and will position FCA as the largest producer of engines and transmissions in Latin America, with a production capacity of 1.3 million engines per year. starting from 2020. FCA plans to export at least 400 thousand engines a year, especially in Europe.
The new engines are: T3 1.0 cc 3-cylinder, T4 1.3 cc 4-cylinder and E4 (developed in Brazil).
Overall, investments will become operational by the end of 2024.
With this investment, FCA shows great confidence in Brazil, which has always been considered a strategic country for the company’s growth plans. According to Manley, FCA plans to launch 24 or 25 new products by 2024, including totally new vehicles and new versions of existing models.
The FCA strategy is very ambitious: to consolidate in America at a time when other car manufacturers, Ford and GM above all, appear uncertain and even think about disinvesting. After a 2018 of strong market growth, the first months of 2019 – despite the cooling of economic growth – were however positive (+ 9%), in particular the month of April.
The segment in which FCA is betting strong, at Brazilian level, is that of SUVs: the Jeep Compass was the most sold SUV in 2018, followed by Renegade. There are great expectations regarding the launch of a new SUV from the Fiat brand, which should be inspired by the Fastback presented at the 2018 São Paulo Motor Show (photo below).
All this when FCA announced yesterday (27) a proposal for a merger with Renault, which would lead to the creation of the 3rd largest global automotive group, with annual sales of around 8.7 million vehicles.