Earlier this month, General Motors announced plans to invest $1.4 billion (R$ 4.5 billion) across three GM Brazil factories, including GM São Caetano do Sul, GM Gravataí, and GM Joinville. According to various reports by the Brazilian media monitored by GM Authority, the Gravataí Industrial Complex in Rio Grande do Sul is of particular interest, as it is reportedly earmarked to manufacture a new model — the Chevrolet Tracker, known in other markets as the Chevrolet Trax.
Building the Trax at the GM Gravataí Industrial Complex, which is getting $437.5 million of the $1.4 billion, makes sense given that the plant currently makes the Chevrolet Onix subcompact hatchback (the most popular new car in Latin America) as well as its sedan variant, the Chevrolet Prisma. Both vehicles are based on the Gamma 2 platform that also underpins the Tracker/Trax.
Further giving the rumor legs is the fact that the subcompact crossover segment is one of the few that’s showing signs of growth in Brazil, but GM’s ability to compete in the space is limited at the moment, since the Tracker is imported from the GM San Luis Potosi factory run by GM Mexico, limiting its sales potential in Brazil due to its trade restrictions with Mexico.
As in other markets like the U.S., the relatively-new Honda HR-V is leading the segment, followed by the Nissan Kicks. Toyota has yet to launch its C-HR in South America, while Ford has recently freshened the EcoSport entry which competes in the segment and will soon arrive in the United States.
Building the Trax/Tracker in Gravataí will give GM the opportunity to export the vehicle across South America from Brazil, rather than importing it from Mexico, which is currently producing the model for the Americas, along with the GM Bupyeong factory operated by GM Korea.