Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) officially opened the new Jeep production facility in Goiana, located in the State of Pernambuco in northeast Brazil.
Present at the ceremony were Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Governor of Pernambuco Paulo Câmara, and the Chairman and CEO of FCA John Elkann and Sergio Marchionne.
"Today we are celebrating the beginning of a new chapter in our Group's long, rich history in Brazil," said FCA Chairman, John Elkann. "It is a story of success that has seen us grow together for almost 40 years and led to us establishing ourselves as market leader. As a result of the union between Fiat and Chrysler, we are now even stronger and better positioned to take on the challenge of carrying out our largest development project to date here in Pernambuco, and contributing to the unprecedented growth of Jeep as a global brand."
Pernambuco is FCA's first truly global plant, planned and executed from the ground up by an intercultural team and the first to incorporate, from day one, best practices developed at Group sites around the world, according to the automaker. The site is also FCA's largest and most advanced. The adoption of the highest standards in efficiency, quality and performance make it a state-of-the-art facility in terms of production processes and logistics.
A total of BRL 7 billion (€2.2 billion) has been invested in the facility - which was constructed in approximately two and a half years - including BRL 3 billion for the Jeep assembly plant, BRL 2 billion for the supplier park, and the remainder for product development and other investments. This represents the single largest automotive sector investment in Brazil over the past decade and one of the most significant private sector investments in recent years, according to the automaker.
Equipped with 700 robots (650 welding, 40 painting and 10 assembly), the plant has a covered surface area of 260,000 square meters and installed production capacity of 250,000 vehicles per year. Engineered for maximum flexibility, the plant can also produce up to three different models contemporaneously and is currently producing the Jeep Renegade for export to markets across Latin America. The on-site supplier park covers an area of 270,000 square meters and houses 16 suppliers that produce 17 component product lines at 12 different factories, according to the automaker.
It is expected that more than 9,000 people will be working at the site by year-end, including 3,300 at the Jeep plant, 4,900 employed by suppliers and around 850 in service activities, according to the automaker. The Pernambuco facility is strategic to the Jeep brand's international development and further strengthens FCA's presence in Brazil.
"In my decades of international experience, the revolution here in Pernambuco is the most profound I have ever seen," said Marchionne. "It began five years ago when we had the vision of creating one of the most competitive plants in the world in the middle of a stretch of sugar cane fields. Then, step by step, the people here made it a reality. Today we are not just celebrating the opening of an industrial complex, or a brand or product. We are celebrating the spirit of Pernambuco and its people. Without them this extraordinary and ambitious project would not have been possible."