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April 02, 2003
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Volkswagen do Brasil celebrates its 50th anniversary
  • Largest automotive manufacturer in the country

  • Social policy pioneer in Latin America

  • Market launch of Volkswagen Gol Total Flex in Brazil

Wolfsburg - Volkswagen do Brasil Ltda. celebrated its 50th anniversary on Monday, 24 March 2003 with a ceremony at the Anchieta plant near São Paulo, Brazil. Over 12,000 employees took part in the ceremony, which was also attended by the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG,

Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder, the Volkswagen AG Board of Management Member responsible for the South America/South Africa Region, Dr. Peter Hartz, the President of Volkswagen do Brasil Ltda., Paul S. Fleming, the President of the Group Global Works Council of Volkswagen AG, Klaus Volkert, and many high-ranking representatives from politics, industry and the trade unions, among them Klaus Zwickel, President of the International Metalworkers' Federation.


Volkswagen do Brasil employs 27,600 staff at five plants: the Anchieta plant produces engines as well as the VW Gol, VW Kombi, VW Polo A04, VW Polo A04 Sedan, VW Santana and VW Saveiro. Curitiba manufactures the Audi A3, VW Golf A4 and VW Saveiro. The Taubaté plant assembles the VW Gol and VW Parati. Buses and trucks are produced in Resende. The São Carlos plant produces engines.

The Volkswagen Group is the market leader for passenger cars and trucks in Brazil. In 2002, the Volkswagen Group delivered 382,071 passenger cars to customers in Brazil, representing a 26.1 percent share of the market. Volkswagen do Brasil is the only Brazilian automotive manufacturer to export its products to the USA and Canada. The VW Gol specially developed for the Brazilian market has been the most-purchased vehicle in Brazil for the last 16 years.

As early as 1950, Volkswagen imported its first vehicles to Brazil through the Brasmotor assembly plant in São Paulo. This is where Beetle assembly began in 1951. An assembly and production company called Volkswagen do Brasil Limitada was established in São Paulo on 23 March 1953. 80 percent of the shares in the company belonged to Volkswagenwerk GmbH, 20 percent were in the possession of Monteiro-Aranha S.A. registered in Rio de Janeiro.

Volkswagen do Brasil became a joint stock company on 12 July 1995 once political unrest had subsided. A factory was subsequently built in São Bernardo do Campo. This is where Transporter production started in 1957. The first Beetle left the assembly line in January 1959. Both vehicles soon became very popular. Annual production rose by a factor of ten between 1958 and 1961, running at 47,340 units, and the workforce swelled from 2,300 to 8,000. In 1972, the 1 millionth Beetle to be produced in Brazil came off the production belt. The importance of exports continued to increase.

Falling sales, an instable economic situation and an uncertain economic policy framework forced the company to consolidate and restructure in the 80s. In order to reduce production costs and minimise market risks, Volkswagen and Ford Motor Company established a joint venture called Autolatina which began operating on 1 July 1987. Volkswagen and Ford operated together in Brazil until 1995.

Volkswagen do Brasil increased its capacity in the mid-90s by expanding the Taubaté and Anchieta plants and setting up an engine factory in São Carlos. The truck and bus plant in Resende was commissioned in November 1996. The "consorcio modular" production concept (where suppliers are fully responsible for assembling the modules they deliver) was introduced for the first time at Volkswagen. Since then, the plant has steadily raised its market share which currently totals some 30 percent, and is now competing for market leadership. In 1999, a further production plant for passenger cars was commissioned in Curitiba.

In 2001, Volkswagen do Brasil introduced new models, namely the Passat, Gol Power, Parati Tour and Golf, into the market and maintained its market leadership. The VW Polo was introduced in 2002.

To mark its 50th anniversary, Volkswagen do Brasil is launching the new Volkswagen Gol Total Flex. The innovative vehicle is powered by petrol, alcohol or any mixture of the two fuels.

(March 24, 2003)

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