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Discovery Sport will lead JLR’s Brazilian output

The Land Rover Discovery Sport will be the first model Jaguar Land Rover produces at its new plant in Brazil, the automaker said today.

Output of the premium SUV will begin in 2016 at the 750 million real (€239 million) factory, which will have an annual capacity of 24,000.

JLR said that construction would start before the end of the year on the plant, which is in Itatiaia in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

The British company, owned by India’s Tata Motors, aims to boost global sales to 750,000 Jaguars and Land Rovers by 2020 from 425,006 last year.

Earlier this month JLR began building the Range Rover Evoque compact SUV at its new joint-venture plant with Chery Automobile in China. The Discovery Sport will be added at the China factory at a later date. The plant has a capacity of 130,000 vehicles.

Brazil production likely will start from kits imported from the UK, Richard Else, plant director of Land Rover’s factory in Halewood, northwest England, stated.

JLR recently started output of the Discovery Sport in Halewood. The new SUV will replace the Freelander, but Halewood will continue to build kit versions of the Freelander for JLR’s plant in Pune, India, until the end of the year, Else said.

The Discovery Sport will go on sale early next year in Europe and U.S., where it will replace the LR2.

JLR has sold 7,346 cars in Brazil so far this year, led by the Range Rover Evoque.

The automaker plans to increase the number of dealerships in Brazil to 42 by March 2015, the company said in a statement. It didn’t say how many retail outlets it currently has. “Customers in Brazil [are] showing an increasing appetite for highly capable premium products,” group marketing director Phil Popham said in a statement.

Brazil has been aggressive in attracting automakers via the Inovar Auto system that rewards companies with a manufacturing base in the country and penalizes those that import.