Nissan to start making new car in crisis-hit Brazil

 A Nissan sign is seen in this general view of the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, on Nov 19, 2015.
A Nissan sign is seen in this general view of the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, on Nov 19, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Japanese auto maker Nissan said Monday (Jan 4) it will invest US$185 million (S$264 million) to produce a new model of urban four-wheel-drive car in Brazil, despite the country's economic crisis.

"Nissan will build a new car, the Nissan Kicks" at its factory in Resende, west of Rio de Janeiro, said the group's chief executive Carlos Ghosn.

"It is a local product of the Resende factory and will be exported worldwide from Brazil," he told a news conference in Rio.

He said the company would invest 750 million reals (S$264 million) over three years to produce the new model.

He forecast the investment would create 600 jobs at the Resende factory, which opened in 2014.

Brazil is in a recession and a political crisis. Mr Ghosn said the auto market there shrank by a quarter last year.

He said 2015 has not been a good year for Brazil but Nissan had nevertheless expanded its share of the market even with lower sales.

"Brazil is still a fundamental part of Nissan's strategy and we have great faith in the potential of the Brazilian market."