With the aim of maintaining its leadership in the luxury car segment in Brazil, the BMW Group announced on Thursday (18) an investment of R$500 million in the unit located in Aracuari, Santa Catarina. It will manufacture four new car models, with a global launch to be revealed soon. In addition, it will also expand investments in engineering, with a focus on digital technologies.
According to President and CEO of the Latin American Group, Alexander Weir, less than six months after the start of sales in Europe, all combustion versions of the BMW X3 and BMW X4 will be manufactured in Brazil, including the new X3 M40i, X4 xDrive 30i M Sport and X4 M40i, the latter being the most powerful technological vehicle made in Brazil, with 387 horsepower.
This project will be implemented within three years, and with it, the BMW Group has a value of R$1.8 billion as direct investments in the plant in Santa Catarina since it opened in 2014. At least for the time being, the company does not expect new jobs for these projects in the SC, in addition to 700 workers already employed in the unit. But you can expand the team if necessary.
Alexander Weir, working from the Mexico unit, when connected to the future car project to be implemented in Santa Catarina, made the comment using Latin expressions.
– Tradition says we should leave the best for last, popularly ‘icing on the cake’. And the great thing I would like to announce is that the Arraquari plant will have an unprecedented production of BMW in the near future. Since this form has not yet been announced by our head office, I don’t want to bother my German colleagues. So, unfortunately, I can’t go into more detail at this point. But I’m sure all of you will love the news when it’s announced in a timely manner – said the CEO during an online interview, given by the Araquari factory.
Since the Brazilian unit is a platform that supports the assembly of several models, it is expected that this suspension will be created to announce in the future an all-electric car that will be manufactured in SC, or an advanced hybrid.
In addition to the unit located in Santa Catarina, BMW has a motorcycle factory in Manaus and its headquarters in São Paulo, employing more than 300 people, with a total of 1,000 people in Brazil.
This new investment will renew the technology. We will not necessarily expand at this time. But that would be flexible. It can happen (employing more people) if the market demands it. Therefore, we will be ready for this – said Otavio Rudakowski, general manager of the BMW Group plant in Arraquari.
BMW currently owns more than 30% of the luxury car market in Brazil. While other German competitors such as Mercedes and BMW have stopped manufacturing in the country, the Munich-based company has chosen to strengthen its production base in the Brazilian market.
Electric Mobility Challenges
When asked by the column about when BMW would start assembling electric cars in Santa Catarina, the plant’s general manager, Otávio Rodacoswiski, said it was ready, but cautioned that production was following the market.
Our factory is ready to be flexible to any type of driving force and propulsion systems, and what will determine that is the market. We are ready to adapt to any new technology that arises or is needed. Our employees undergo continuous training and learn new technologies as they emerge. But when, what day or how it will happen, we still don’t have the answer, Rodacoswiski said.
For the CEO, electric mobility technology generates significant market opportunities. He mentioned the example of the city of São Paulo that exempted electric cars from spinning, an important incentive. Another incentive, he says, is lower rates such as IPVA and offering more places to recharge batteries.
We are the first automaker to offer charging stations between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. There are six units on Via Dutra. We are also installing a solar powered charging station in Bahia, and we are looking for strategic partnerships to install new stations in other states.
But beyond infrastructure, we have to understand what is consumer behaviour. There is a study that indicates that 80% of recharging takes place at home. Therefore, we have to offer a package that allows you to recharge at home or in your apartment – Rodacoswiski said.
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