Fiat Chrysler is investing R$200m ($53m) in a research and development (R&D) center in Recife, the capital of Pernambuco state in northeast Brazil.
The automotive intelligence center, based in Recife's technology park Porto Digital, is the company's first such facility in Latin America and will be focused on engine and transmission controlling software, known as powertrain.
Powertrain systems are key to boosting vehicle performance and fuel consumption and reducing emissions, while improving driver response. These systems also have to be rigorously tested to perform in conditions such as severe heat as well as vibration scenarios.
Some 210 professionals are already working at the facility at Porto Digital - described by Fiat Chrysler's president Stefan Ketter as "Brazil's Silicon Valley" - and it is expected that the innovation center will generate 500 jobs in total over the next few years. Partnerships with eight local universities have been agreed.
"Pernambuco will contribute to the development of our group in Latin America and at the same time become a world class center in the field of automotive engineering and mobility," says Ketter.