General Motors has just celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Gravataí plant in Brazil, which manufactured its four-millionth vehicle earlier this year. According to the automaker, the Gravataí factory received substantial infrastructure and expansion investments since its inauguration on July 20, 2000, making it the most productive automotive plant in the world.
Recognized for being the birthplace of the Chevrolet Onix, the best-selling vehicle in Brazil and all of Latin America, the Gravataí plant is the youngest and most sophisticated factory that GM owns in South America. In addition, its innovative Automotive Industrial Complex (CIAG) includes its own fleet of suppliers, with 18 companies located in the same facility in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
“The Gravataí plant’s history is marked by a lot of hard work and important achievements. I have no doubt that the quality of the workforce was a fundamental part of this two-decade success,” said GM Gravataí plant Executive Director, Luis Mesa, in a statement. “It is an honor for me to be part of such a historic moment. I am proud of our team which deserved to celebrate this important milestone in Rio Grande do Sul,” he added.
In its two decades of existence, General Motors’ Gravataí plant has undergone three major expansions that totaled an investment of approximately R$4.5 billion – about $844.5 million USD at the current exchange rate. These include a production capacity expansion as well as retooling for the first Chevrolet Onix/Prisma in 2012, and more recently, the second-generation Onix.
Its last expansion occured between 2017 and 2019, when the factory received an investment of R$1.4 billion ($262.7 million USD) to manufacture the current Onix hatchback and Onix Plus sedan. Improvements include a new polymer injection building, new robots operating under the 4.0 manufacturing concept and the digitization of many key processes, such as simulations of the line’s production volume.
The Gravataí plant currently has a capacity of more than 350,000 units per year and is dedicated to producing the new Chevrolet Onix in its two body styles – being the only one in the world that manufactures the hatchback variant. According to General Motors, 45% of Gravataí’s taxes are collected from the plant’s operations, and the company has injected more than $6 billion into the local economy in the last 20 years.