Fiat to invest $1.7 billion in second car facility in Brazil

Italian carmaker Fiat SpA, yesterday announced that it will spend 3 billion reais ($1.7 billion) to build a second plant in Brazil, the carmaker's largest market.

The new 200,000 vehicles a year plant to be built in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, will be aimed at producing a new model that is still to be developed, and to be sold in the local and other markets in Latin America.

"The plant to be built in the state of Pernambuco represents a very important step for Fiat in strengthening its international presence," said Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat in a statement.

"Brazil, where we expect to sell more than 1 million cars per year by 2014, is strategic to our expansion."

Fiat is also planning to put up a research and development centre near the plant and may also establish a training facility, which is part of the Turin-based carmaker's plan to invest $6 billion in its Brazilian operations by 2014.

Fiat has been making cars in Brazil since 1976 mainly for the local market, and has an existing plant in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.