Japanese automobile giant Nissan will invest BRL2.8bn $575m in its Resende plant in Rio de Janeiro to produce two new sports utility vehicle (SUV) models and a turbo engine.

The announcement came during a ceremony held on Tuesday (7 November) at Nissan’s Resende Industrial Complex. The event was attended by 2,400 people, including Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida and Claudio Castro, Rio de Janeiro’s governor.

Uchida said: “Based on Nissan Ambition 2030, the long-term vision that will drive our company, we will be taking into account the needs and realities of Brazil and South America. We have a local strategy that will ensure our transformation in the next few years.”

Nissan has been present in the Brazilian market for 23 years. In 2022, the company introduced a second work shift at the Resende Industrial Complex to expand production, creating 578 additional jobs.

Opened in 2014, the complex will go through a major revamp, receiving new equipment that will help it produce one of the new models announced by Nissan. According to a press statement, the company plans to export the cars produced there to more than 20 countries in the region.

“Japanese companies are a key source of inward investment into Brazil,” said Glenn Barklie, chief economist at Investment Monitor. “In terms of greenfield FDI, Japan ranks as the ninth largest source market for Brazil by number of projects. Japanese companies are most active in automotive, software and IT services and renewable energy sectors in Brazil.”

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In 2021, Brazil’s foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows reached $50bn, with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) naming it the world’s sixth-largest destination for investors.

When the country changed presidents in October 2022, electing left-wing Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva as the incumbent, Western businesses sighed in relief.

Elizabeth Johnson, managing director of TS Lombard Brazil research team, commented then: “Under Lula, Brazil will attract significant investment in next-generation fuel, including green hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuel, green diesel, offshore wind, green mining and green steel.”