September 5, 2012 / 5:37 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Audi to invest $1.3 bln in first stage of Mexico plant

MEXICO CITY, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Audi AG plans to invest around $1.3 billion in the first stage of its new plant in Mexico, Puebla state Governor Rafael Moreno Valle said on Wednesday.

Volkswagen AG’s Audi said on Tuesday it had picked San Jose Chiapa, in Puebla, as the site for its new plant for sport utility vehicles in Mexico.

Audi’s first factory in the Americas aims to take advantage of low labor costs and an exemption from import duties in some regions to help it reach its target of selling 1 million cars in the United States by 2018.

The construction of the new Audi plant, which will create some 20,000 new jobs in Puebla, will start next year and the facility is expected to start production in 2016, with an estimated first output of 150,000 vehicles.

The new Puebla plant will strengthen VW’s operations in the central Mexican state, where Europe’s biggest carmaker already makes the Jetta compact sedan, its best-selling U.S. model, and the new Beetle.

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