Wednesday, April 16th 2014 – 04:42 UTC

Japan Nissan’s top executives travelled to Resende, Rio do Janeiro state on Tuesday to inaugurate a complex designed to turn out 200,000 vehicles and engines per year with the goal of capturing 5% of Brazil’s new car market by 2016.

Built at a cost of 1.18 billion dollars, the vehicle and engine plants will eventually employ 2,000 people and are expected to generate an additional 2,000 jobs in the community, Nissan said.

“We did not come to Brazil to be secondary, we came to be protagonists in the automobile market,” Nissan’s Brazilian-born global CEO, Carlos Ghosn, said during Tuesday’s ceremony.

The vehicle factory will initially produce 80,000 units of the New March model, while Versas are set to start rolling off the Resende assembly at the end of 2014.

The Resende complex, along with a pair of new manufacturing facilities in the United States and Mexico, represents the Japanese automaker’s bet on “still-unexplored opportunities” in the Western Hemisphere, Nissan Latin America President Jose Valls said.

Nissan is aiming to capture 5% of Brazil’s new-car market by 2016, compared with a current share of 2.03%.

Bad weather prevented Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff from traveling to Resende for the inauguration, her office said.