Fiat Automotive Plant, Betim in Brazil

​42 years old and at its best

The anniversary of the Fiat Automotive Plant is celebrated amid the announcement of a major renovation at FCA in Latin America: "New cars aren't enough, we want exceptionally high quality"

July 3, 2018 - On July 9, the Fiat Automotive Plant turns 42. Opened in 1976 in the city of Betim in Brazil, metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte, it is the biggest and most flexible industrial complex of the FCA group in the world. This is also where the engines of the new global Firefly family, the design and technologies of the brand's new cars in Latin America come from.

With more than four decades in operation, the Plant works with the most advanced automotive production technologies in the world, and houses the Giovanni Agnelli Research & Development Center, with state-of-the-art laboratories for testing and simulations, performed in perfect synergy with teams from Italy and the United States.

Antonio Filosa

At the age of 42, the Fiat Plant has established itself as an innovator to support FCA's new investment cycle in Latin America. In the next five years, the contribution in the region will total R$ 14 billion, with emphasis on the Fiat brand – which also has a production plant in Argentina).

"FCA started the second investment cycle, which has among its objectives to strengthen Fiat", says FCA President for Latin America, Antonio Filosa, highlighting the brand's leadership milestones. "Today, Fiat has the first and second most sold pickups in Brazil with Toro and Strada; the best selling compact in Brazil with its Mobi; the best selling light commercial vehicle of its segment with Fiorino. The sales of Argo and Cronos are also growing consistently".

In order to expand its presence in the market, the strategy for the coming years will be to enter the UV segment, which has higher urban cars, able to withstand rough terrain. Today, it is the fastest growing segment in Latin America, responsible for about 15% of the market.

In total, by 2022 there will be 15 Fiat launches in Latin America, including three new UV models, a pickup truck, a new engine family, in addition to upgrades for in-line models and special series. "Having new cars is not enough. We want very high quality and innovative content", stresses Filosa, highlighting the relevance of developing new technologies that will surprise the consumer.

All Fiat Automotive Plant employees

People are and will continue to be essential for the development of the Fiat brand. In Filosa's view, what sets the Betim Plant apart is human capital, from the factory floor to the Engineering and Design areas. "When it comes to rolling up our sleeves and doing a good integrated job, the Fiat Plant has one of the best teams in the world", he celebrates.

X Ray

With 2.25 million square meters of total area, the Fiat Automotive Plant is a real city with about 15 thousand employees. There are nine banking posts there and more than 19,000 food services per day. The complex has already produced almost 16 million vehicles, of which nearly 4 million have been exported to more than 30 countries. In 2017, the Fiat Automotive Plant produced 70% of the cars that FCA exported from Brazil.

For convenience sake, we often refer to this factory as a "plant", but the truth is that this term in the singular is not accurate. This is because there are two plants there: one for Vehicles (which includes the complete cycle of production, with the units of Presses, Body, Painting and Final Assembly) and another one for Powertrain (with the Motors and Transmissions units). In addition, one of the four FCA R&D centers in the world is located there: the Research and Development Center Giovanni Agnelli, composed of the Design Center, Vehicle Design and Powertrain Engineering, Experimental Engineering and Powertrain Engineering. This gives the Fiat Plant the ability to create a vehicle from start to finish. In the aerial photo, the test track of 3.6 thousand meters in length stands out.

Flexible and dynamic, the Vehicle Plant is responsible for the production of 8 models: Uno, Fiorino, Doblò, Grand Siena, Weekend, Strada, Mobi and Argo. The Fiat Toro is not produced there, but at the Jeep Automotive Plant in Goiana (Pernambuco state), as well as the Cronos which is manufactured in Cordoba, Argentina. Ducato completes the Fiat range, imported from Mexico.

In addition to these three main areas, the processes for the development of new products were redesigned with the modernization completed in 2016, resulting in the creation of three other structures that connect people and processes from the most varied areas of the company: the Development Center (which includes Engineering, Manufacturing and Quality in projects being launched), the Component Center (Measurement and zero tolerance testing for defects) and the Value Optimization Center (which takes care of strategies to increase the value of the product in partnership with suppliers).

Check out in the infographic below to see the main figures for Fiat’s Automotive Plant

Infographic - Information and numbers relating to the management of the Fiat Automotive Plant

Words: Daniel Schneider

Art: Fabricio Moura

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