Volkswagen do Brasil

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Volkswagen do Brasil Ltda.
Industry Automotive industry
Founded 1953
Headquarters São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil
Area served
South America
Products automobiles
Owner Volkswagen Group
Number of employees
22,500 (2013)

Volkswagen do Brasil Ltda. is a subsidiary arm of Volkswagen Group, established in 1953 with local assembly of the Volkswagen Type 1 from parts imported from Germany. They have produced over 20 million vehicles in Brazil, having been market leader for the majority of their sixty years in existence. The Type 1 ("Fusca") had a 24-year run as the number one in sales in Brazil, beginning in 1958. From 1987 until today (including 2012) the Gol has been in first place in sales for 26 years straight.[1]


The Volkswagen assembly plant in Brazil was established after the Brazilian government prohibited the import of fully built-up vehicles in 1953.[2] The first manager was Friedrich Schultz-Wenk, who had emigrated to Brazil in 1950 after a brief stint as a prisoner of war followed by some time in Wolfsburg.[3] Their first plant was in Ipiranga, São Paulo and was a strict CKD operation. In two years 2268 Fuscas and 552 Kombis were assembled there by hand.[3] After Kubitschek's import substitution programs began taking effect, Volkswagen were compelled to open a proper factory in São Bernardo do Campo. Work on the factory began in mid-1957.[4] Originally only the Kombi was built locally (from September 1957), but from January 1959 the 1200 cc "Fusca" also entered local production, with ever growing local parts content.[3] By 1961 Volkswagen had surpassed Willys-Overland to become the biggest producer of vehicles in Brazil.[4]

Brazilian developed Volkswagens[edit]

The 2003 VW Gol 1.6 Total Flex was the first full flexible-fuel vehicle launched in Brazil, capable of running on any blend of gasoline and ethanol (E100).
VW Type 2 TotalFlex (Known as "Kombi").

Many of its models were designed especially for Brazil:

Volkswagen was also the only manufacturer to keep manufacturing ethanol powered vehicles after others withdrew in early 1997.[5]

In 2012, Volkswagen built 852,086 units (including CKD kits), making them the biggest producer in the country and second in sales.[1] Volkswagen operates four plants, in São Bernardo do Campo, Taubaté, and São Carlos. The São Carlos plant only makes engines.[1]


Also of some interest in Volkswagen do Brasil's history is the AutoLatina arrangement between Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group, from 1987 to 1995.

Trucks and Buses[edit]

Volkswagen do Brasil was also responsible for the development and creation of Volkswagen Caminhões Ltda, (the Volkswagen Trucks and Buses division) from 1979 until 1999, when the operation was taken over by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. In December 2008 it was announced that Volkswagen Trucks and Buses was to be sold to MAN SE.

Volkswagen's Latin American truck operations have always built much heavier trucks than elsewhere in the world, where this sector has mainly been the responsibility of MAN.[6] Volkswagen entered a deal with PACCAR in 1986 to sell their trucks with Peterbilt or Kenworth badging in the United States. This would allow PACCAR's dealers to offer Class 7 trucks without having to go the competition.[7] The Peterbilt-Volkswagen 200 was affectionately known as "Peter Rabbit".

CEOs of Volkswagen do Brasil Ltda.[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Calmon, Fernando (2013-04-02). Just-Auto global news. Aroq Limited.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Shapiro, Helen (Winter 1991). "Determinants of Firm Entry into the Brazilian Automobile Manufacturing Industry, 1956-1968". The Business History Review. 65 (4, The Automobile Industry): 884. doi:10.2307/3117267. 
  3. ^ a b c d "VW-Tochter: Erfolg mit Fusca" [VW-daughter: Fusca success]. Der Stern (in German). Rudolf Augstein (39): 134, 136. 1966-09-19. 
  4. ^ a b Wolfe, Joel (2010), Autos and Progress: The Brazilian search for Modernity, New York City: Oxford UP, p. 121, ISBN 978-0-19-517456-4 
  5. ^ Feltrin, Ariverson (1998-02-18). "Manufacturers want alcohol program". Gazeta Mercantil Online. São Paulo, Brazil: Gazeta Mercantil. 
  6. ^ Queiroz, Roberto (December 1986). Barden, Paul, ed. "View: Brazil". TRUCK. London, UK: FF Publishing Ltd: 37. 
  7. ^ Barden, Paul (December 1986). "Foden: A Family Affair". TRUCK. London, UK: FF Publishing Ltd: 45. 
  8. ^ Wolfe, p. 129

External links[edit]