SAO PAULO - BMW AG and Chrysler Corp. expect to start building 1.6-liter engines at their new Brazilian plant in the first quarter of 2000.
The companies will start construction of the plant late this year. The site is next to Chrysler's new $315 million Dakota pickup plant near Curitiba. Each company will invest $250 million.
The plant will have capacaity for 400,000 engines a year. It will make 1.4-liter and 1.6-liter engines in both SOHC and DOHC configurations.
The first product will be a 1.6-liter SOHC engine. Chrysler and BMW's Rover will share the output 50-50.
'This is one more very important step in the internationalization of BMW,' said Henrich Heitmann, chief executive and general manager of BMW America. 'This plant will enable direct access to local markets and good sales in the long term.'
Francois Castaing, executive vice-president of Chrysler's international operations, said: 'More and more, Mercosur is gaining strength due to its great potential. Our main efforts are now directed to building an infrastructure that will support our ambitious industrial plans.'
James Bonini, 34, is director of production at the joint venture. He had been a Chrysler truck plant manager. He will oversee construction of the plant, and then run it.
Eberhad Schrempf, 40, is in charge of the venture's commercial operations. He was previously BMW Canada's finance director. Before that, he was plant manager of a BMW parts plant in Eisenach, Germany.