FCA lays out South American plans

Brazil-made Renegade will be updated

Brazil-made Renegade will be updated

Following announcements by the Brazilian units of Volkswagen and GM, FCA's local arm has disclosed its strategy for the next five years.

The automaker's CEO for Latin America, Antonio Filosa, expects to spend BRL9bn/US$2.4bn on the Fiat range and an additional BRL5bn/$1.3bn for the Jeep and Ram brands by 2022.

The executive said investments in current capacity – 1.25m units yearly at the two plants in Brazil (Betim and Goiana) and one in Argentina (Cordoba) – have been completed.

However, the newest plant, Goiana, could be enlarged to 350,000 units per year if needed, he said.

Filosa said Fiat would add three new SUVs in the region but did not detail them.

But just-auto has learned one will be derive from the Fiat Argo compact, a crossover will be built on the Mobi platform and a Fiat-branded, future Jeep will be larger than the current, seven-seat Compass.

There will be also be a new Strada light pick-up and its van derivative (Fiorino) plus a reviced Uno.

Facelifts of current models (Mobi, Argo, Cronos and Toro pick-up) will complete the move.

Other moves will include turbocharging the current Firefly three and four-cylinder engines and offering epicyclic automatic gearboxes across the range.

As for Jeep, the Renegade and Compass will get updates and a new seven-seater will be made here. The remainder will be imported: Wrangler (and its pick-up version), Cherokee/Grand Cherokee and Wagoner/Grand Wagoner. Not to mention the baby Jeep FCA has not yet detailed, nor its country of production.

There are plans for Ram pick-ups as well. Importing from Mexico is limited to the 2500. The redesigned 1500 is made only in the US and this would attract hefty import duties in the four Mercosur countries.

The strongest bet is on a mid-size pick-up with a one tonne payload.

FCA is yet do decide where build it – Mexico, Brazil or Argentina. It is likely the Mexicans will be assigned the task and the 1500's regional manufacturing as well since they will be deprived of the current range's largest seller following US president Donald Trump's plans to review the NAFTA accord.

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