BUENOS AIRES, July 8- General Motors will invest $740 million in Argentina through 2016 on its first South American factory turning out aluminum motors, Buenos Aires announced Monday.
The announcement comes as the Argentine auto industry saw a more than 20 percent drop in production in the first quarter compared to the record performance in the same period in a year earlier.
The new unit will be installed in the GM complex in Rosario, an agro-industrial port city some 300 kilometers (190 miles) northwest of the capital, according to the office of President Cristina Kirchner.
The complex currently employs some 2,800 people and produces seven models.
Production at the new factory is to start in 2017 and aims to reach 140,000 motors a year.
General Motors suspended production in Argentina in 1978, but returned in 1997. It plans another mot
or factory on Mexico.