(Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) will start selling the new Kicks crossover in Latin America this year, Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn announced on a Monday visit to the plant in Brazil that will produce the vehicle.
Nissan is investing 750 million reais ($186 million) in the Resende plant, about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Rio de Janeiro, to build the crossover based on a concept vehicle at the 2014 Sao Paulo Auto Show.
After starting production, Nissan plans to hire 600 new employees and open a second shift at the factory, which currently makes the compact cars March and Versa, according to a company statement.
Nissan’s plans to hire come after carmakers in Brazil cut nearly one in 10 workers last year, deepening the industry’s worst crisis in decades as auto sales plunged by a quarter.
Brazil is one of the world’s five biggest auto markets and a major base of operations for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI), Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), General Motors Co (GM.N) and Ford Motor Co (F.N).
Automakers have launched new models to attract the attention of the shrinking pool of Brazilians still looking to buy a new car as the economy slides into a severe recession.
Reporting by Natália Scalzaretto; Writing by Brad Haynes; Editing by Sandra Maler