Fiat Argentina to resume production of own model

BUENOS AIRES Wed May 30, 2007 7:34pm EDT

BUENOS AIRES May 30 (Reuters) - Fiat Argentina, the local representative of the Italian automaker, said on Wednesday it would resume production of one of its own models in the South American country next year, investing $60 million.

Fiat Argentina imports cars manufactured in neighboring Brazil for sale in Argentina and exports auto parts from its plant in the central Argentine province of Cordoba, which stopped making cars seven years ago.

"We're going to make 50,000 Siena cars starting on Jan. 1 (2008), so it's a big job and we've got to get 1,000 people ready for January to start production," Fiat Argentina President Cristiano Rattazzi told a news conference.

Rattazzi told Reuters earlier this year Fiat was looking at resuming local car production. Fiat Argentina made the Siena sedan at its plant in Cordoba, before abandoning production.

Fiat Argentina, owned by Italy's Fiat (FIA.MI), will also start making a pick-up truck next year in a joint project with India's Tata Motors Ltd. (TAMO.BO).

Latin America's No. 3 economy has grown briskly for the last four years, with the automotive sector being one of the pillars of its recovery.

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