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CAOA: Brazil’s Automotive Tycoon


In 1979, Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade founded automobile conglomerate CAOA. CAOA is the largest manufacturer and distributor of automobiles in not only Brazil, but in all of Latin America at this point. It began when Dr. Carlos, a physician and entrepreneur, received the Ford dealership of Campina Grande as compensation for a car which they had never delivered to him. By 1985, CAOA had grown immensely, and was the largest Ford Dealership in Brazil.

Once Brazil’s ban on imported cars had been lifted, CAOA began to import French cars from the company Renault and it topped the charts for import car sales. The partnership continued for a few more years before splitting, at which point Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade began moving towards his next endeavor: Importing Subaru automobiles. In 1998, CAOA became the exclusive importer of the Japanese vehicles. Within a year, Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade had tripled Subaru sales in Brazil.

The following year, CAOA expanded to importing South Korean Hyundai cars. Under Dr. Carlos, the brand became the leader in imported cars in Brazil. CAOA’s relationship with Hyundai would go even further, with the opening of the first Hyundai assembly plant in Brazil. This manufacturing facility would earn Dr. Carlos the title of “Entrepreneur of the Year in Industry,” in IstoÉ Dinheiro. Numerous other accolades and awards would follow over the next decade due to CAOA’s massive success in automobile manufacturing and distributing.

In 2015, the company launched a new division: The Center for Research and Energy Efficiency (CPEE). The goal of the CPEE is to research and innovate in the automobile industry, making headway in researching new fuel alternatives and new models of cars and engines. The opening of the CPEE followed in the wake of the company receiving various awards praising and admiring CAOA for its model and business strategies, among other things.

In years since, CAOA has partnered with the Chinese company Chery to launch a totally Brazilian car manufacturer, CAOA Chery. Furthermore, CAOA has continued to show exceptional skill in sales, having sold over 1 million automobiles in Brazil.

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