Brazilian Auto Manufacturer To Export Ethanol Microcars To U.S.

OBVIO! plans to build 50,000 units starting in late 2007 with $700 million finance deal.

OBVIO ! Automotoveiculos SA announced Tuesday that it is close to securing medium and long-term project financing to build 50,000 urban cars a year.

OBVIO !, the first Brazilian-owned automobile manufacturer to export vehicles to North America, is in final negotiations with banks in Europe, Brazil and North America to finalize the $700 million project finance deal.

The Duque de Caxias Mayor Washington Reis has backed the project by offering a manufacturing facility and Governor Rosinha Garotinho, with the Secretary of the State of Rio de Janeiro Wagner Victor and Sub-Secretary Delmo Pinho, have promised additional taxes and export incentives for OBVIO !, which would create 4,000 jobs.

OBVIO ! has a partnership with California automobile distributor ZAP, which has agreed to pre-purchase 50,000 OBVIO ! units through a $425 million line of credit provided by a bank in the US. Last year, ZAP introduced the Smart Cars from Europe to the US, receiving more than 150,000 pre-orders from US dealers.

The OBVIO ! 828 prototype was on display in California at the annual Rat Fink gathering of custom cars and hot rods.

The OBVIO ! 828 prototype on display at the New York International Auto Show.

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