GOIANA, Brazil – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff took part Tuesday in the inauguration of a Jeep factory in this northeastern city and guaranteed that her administration’s austerity policies will not slow the growth of the nation’s automotive sector, which represents 5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
“Brazil will continue working to create a business environment that is more and more favorable to industry and in particular to the automotive industry,” Rousseff said.
The head of state noted that the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plant, built in Goiana to assemble the new Jeep Renegade, symbolizes the industrial progress of northeastern Brazil, traditionally one of the country’s poorest regions.
“The project shows what northeasterners can do. Some 80 percent of the Jeep factory’s labor force is from the northeast,” said Rousseff, who was accompanied by FCA Chairman John Elkann.
With an investment of more than 7 billion reais (about $2.3 billion), the Jeep plant in Pernambuco state is FCA’s most ambitious project to date, since besides the assembly line, the automotive complex is also integrated by many of the company’s suppliers.
The complex includes 16 companies responsible for 17 strategic product lines capable of making 40 percent of the components needed to construct the Jeep.
As Rousseff recalled, the project began in 2010 under her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, since-deceased Pernambuco Gov. Eduardo Campos, and the president of Fiat Chrysler for Latin America, Cledorvino Belini.
“The union of Fiat and Chrysler made us stronger and we are ready to take on a new challenge: to create in Pernambuco a great project of industrial development that will help grow Jeep to a degree never before achieved,” Elkann said.
The Jeep complex has the capacity to produce 250,000 vehicles annually.