FCA’s development in Latin America is driven by the Giovanni Agnelli Research and Development Center, located in Betim (Minas Gerais, Brazil), which is responsible for vehicle and powertrain design and engineering. The Center designs models that meet the specific needs and desires of Latin American consumers, including in particular the Fiat Toro (recipient of the ‘iF DESIGN AWARD’ and ‘Red Dot Award’ for design), Fiat Argo and Fiat Cronos.
Explore the region’s manufacturing facilities as well as the many other FCA facilities located around the world.
The SIMCenter, located on the PUC Minas university campus, is the first Vehicle Dynamics Simulation Center in Latin America and it positions the Region as a leader in the development of know-how, innovation and cutting-edge automotive technologies that will be in the cars of the future.
The system consists of a platform that replicates all movements of a real vehicle through nine actuators; a cockpit equipped with audio system that reproduces the sounds of the engine and tyres; and a curved screen with a viewing angle of 230°. The cockpit movements are reproduced on screen and synchronized with commands from the driver, guided in real time by control room instruments.
Through these simulations, it is possible to define the technical and functional characteristics of each component that determines a vehicle’s dynamics, such as shock absorbers, springs, tires, steering, brakes and stabilizer bars in real time in a fully-controlled environment without having to go to a test track.
Through telemetry signals such as speed, acceleration, steering wheel angle, powertrain, torque and engine power, in addition to the driver’s reactions, it is possible to undertake a complete analysis of the vehicle and surrounding environment. The technology applied in the SIMCenter enables generation of comprehensive data on driver behavior under different stimuli, like distraction due to fatigue; man-machine interaction and ergonomics; road infrastructure with evaluation of road signs.
FCA is the first company in Latin America to incorporate exoskeleton technology in its production process. Exoskeleton sets – which reduce muscular effort and improve the ergonomic condition of the operators – are in use on the assembly lines at the Betim Automotive Complex (Minas Gerais, Brazil), and at the Campo Largo (Paraná, Brazil) and Córdoba (Argentina) plants.
Light and easy to adjust, the system fully synchronizes with the worker's movements.
The exoskeleton complements a large number of initiatives to improve ergonomics for operators, such as rotating hooks, mechanical arms, carving, and others. Deployment of this equipment is part of the Industry 4.0 investment strategy.
FCA has numerous programs to promote the economic development and social transformation of communities where it is present. At the Fiat Automotive Complex in Betim (Minas Gerais, Brazil), one landmark was the creation of the Arvore da Vida (Tree of Life) program in 2004, in partnership with the NGO Cooperation for Development and Human Housing (CDM) and the AVSI Foundation.
The program focuses on the community of Jardim Teresópolis - located near the Fiat Automotive Complex - which is home to around 33,000 people and had one of the lowest Human Development Indexes (HDI) in Betim. Through various initiatives forming part of the Arvore da Vida program, the population of the area has made significant progress in recent years, especially with regard to the four main priorities of the program: education, culture and leisure, generation of work and income and community development.
Since 2004, the program has benefited more than 21,000 residents of Jardim Teresópolis.
A program that has had a major impact in terms of income generation was the creation of Cooperárvore. The cooperative was formed in 2006 after the offer of professional training (cutting and sewing, crafts and screen printing) to the mothers of the students who participated in the Arvore da Vida program.
Over the years, Cooperárvore has established itself as a reference for generating income and new prospects for the residents, promoting social and economic inclusion and empowerment for women in the region. Combining design with the circular economy, the cooperative creates products - handbags, backpacks, wallets, personalized gifts and children’s games - using raw material donated by FCA and suppliers (e.g., leather offcuts, safety belts, etc). Since the creation of Cooperárvore, more than 300,000 pieces have been sold in Brazil and abroad, resulting from the use of 33 tons of materials.
Jeep Biodiversity Program
It is one of the most important conservation initiatives for Brazil's Atlantic Forest. Since 2014, more than 70,000 seedlings from 289 different species have been planted, 27 of which were approaching extinction. The seeds are germinated in a private nursery located at the Jeep Automotive Center in Goiana (Pernambuco, Brazil).
The sites for planting the young trees are carefully chosen to form ecological corridors capable of connecting forest fragments and attracting local wildlife. Many wild animals, such as the Jaguatirica (Leopardus pardalis) and Tamanduá (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), have already been observed returning to their habitat. The goal is to plant 208,000 saplings by 2024, covering about 304 hectares of green area and ecological corridors.
The Biodiversity Program is a proactive and voluntary action. It is a commitment by the Jeep plant to promote transformations that will contribute to the conservation of the Atlantic Forest, by donating seedlings and promoting environmental education, mobilizing its intelligence and assets to generate value for the community.
The nursery is also an area for environmental education. Knowing the production processes of the Goiana factory and the Jeep Biodiversity Program, students from public schools in Goiana are involved in preserving the environment and can act as ambassadors in the community. The project also includes workshops for training teachers and school supervisors. More than 2,000 students from the 5th year at public elementary schools in Goiana have already participated in the program.