Mitsubishi to Invest 1 Billion Reais to Boost Brazil Production

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (7211) will invest about 1 billion reais ($638 million) to increase production at its Brazil factory over five years as carmakers seek to boost sales in Latin America’s largest economy.

The Tokyo-based company aims to increase capacity at the Goiania, Brazil, facility to 300 cars a day and reach 100,000 a year, more than double current levels, the carmaker said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The work will create more than 1,000 jobs.

Mitsubishi is among automakers including Turin, Italy-based Fiat SpA (F) and Detroit-based General Motors Co. (GM) that are boosting investment to take advantage of Brazil’s heated economy, which grew at 7.5 percent last year, the fastest pace in two decades.

Fiat will invest 3 billion reais as it seeks to sell more than 1 million cars in Brazil by 2014, Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said in December. GM’s Brazilian unit aims to increase production at its Sao Caetano do Sul plant to 280,000 vehicles a year by 2012, Jaime Ardila, president of the company’s Latin American operations, said in March. Ardila previously said the company will invest 2 billion reais this year in Brazil.

Mitsubishi aims to grow its share of the Brazilian auto market to 2 percent in the next four years. Last year, it sold 46,000 vehicles to capture 1.3 percent of the market.

Banco BTG Pactual SA, the Brazilian investment bank led by billionaire Andre Esteves, agreed to buy a minority stake in Mitsubishi Motors do Brasil last year, without disclosing the size of the investment or financial details.

Brazilian carmakers produced a record 3.6 million vehicles last year, a 14 percent increase over 2009, according to Brazil’s automakers association. Production growth may slow to 1.1 percent this year, Cledorvino Belini, president of the group known as Anfavea and also head of Fiat in the country, told reporters Jan. 9.

Mitsubishi aims to start making sedans, in addition to the four-wheel-drive sports utility vehicles and crossovers it currently produces, the company said.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Robin Stringer at rstringer@bloomberg.net; Helder Marinho at hmarinho@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Francisco Marcelino at mdeoliveira@bloomberg.net

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