Sunday, December 8, 2013

Brazil: Jaguar Land Rover to Invest $326 Million in Manufacturing Plant in State of Rio de Janeiro

According to The Latin American Tribune, British multinational automaker Jaguar Land Rover says it plans to invest 750 million reais (some $326 million) to build a manufacturing facility in the southeastern Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, its first in the South American country.

Construction is scheduled to begin next year in Itatiaia, a town in the interior of Rio de Janeiro state, and the first vehicles are expected to roll off the assembly line in early 2016, the automaker said in a press release.

Itatiaia is a Brazilian municipality of the state of Rio de Janeiro. It is located at an altitude of 390 meters. Its population is roughly 35,000; the town is located 174 kilometers (108 miles).

A memorandum of understanding on the plant, which JLR said will have a capacity to build 24,000 vehicles annually for the Brazilian market, was signed Thursday (December 6) by Phil Hodgkinson, the company’s global business expansion director, and Sergio Cabral, Rio de Janeiro’s governor.

The plant will initially create 400 direct jobs, although the company projects that number will double by the end of the decade.

JLR, the luxury unit of India’s Tata Motors, will become the first British auto-maker to open a manufacturing facility in Brazil.

COMMENT: The new plant makes Rio de Janeiro state Brazil’s second-leading auto manufacturing hub behind the neighboring state of São Paulo.

South America has become a strategically important market for the company due to the demand in those countries for “highly capable premium products,” Jaguar Land Rover’s CEO, Ralf Speth, was quoted as saying.

The automaker, which has 36 dealerships in Brazil, sold 9,549 vehicles in that country in the first 10 months of 2013, up 40% from the same period of 2012.

Jaguar Land Rover accounts for roughly 53% of Brazil’s luxury SUV market.

Other luxury automakers with manufacturing facilities in Brazil include Germany’s Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.