Nissan and its alliance partner Renault will invest $1.8 billion in an aggressive campaign to double their market share in the booming Brazilian auto market over the next five years.
Expanding upon earlier announcements, the two makers will launch 23 new models and expand their combined production capacity to 580,000 vehicles annually.
“Brazil represents a tremendous opportunity – both as a manufacturing base and as the home of a new generation of Renault and Nissan customers,” said Carlos Ghosn, who serves as CEO of both Nissan and Renault, during an announcement in Rio de Janeiro. “Brazil weathered the recession and emerged as the clear engine of growth for Latin America in the 21st century. We look forward to contributing to the region’s rapidly evolving manufacturing and technological expertise.”
Fueled by its fast-growing middle-class, automotive demand in Brazil has been red hot and that’s leading makers to commit to invest billions to boost their production capacity. But could they heading for trouble? The market has seen some unexpected slowdowns this year which raises concerns about Brazil’s ability to maintain its momentum at a time when much of the rest of the global economy – even China – is showing signs of trouble.
But Ghosn – who is a Brazilian native – is clearly convinced the market can overcome its problems. With a population of 190 million, Brazil has become the largest economy in Latin America, in large part due to a 25% growth in its middle class over the past decade. Vehicle ownership surged from 121 per thousand in 2002 to 158 by 2008.