1979 was the year when Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade made the pivotal decision to switch from being a successful physician to become an entrepreneur. He bought a Ford Landau from a Ford dealership in Campina Grande, but the dealership went bankrupt and couldn’t deliver the car to him. In exchange for the prepayment Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade made on the car, he offered to take over the dealership. He started to manage the dealership and renamed it CAOA, which represents the initials of his name. CAOA became the largest Ford dealership in Brazil within six years of its founding.
Up until 1992, Brazil prohibited vehicle imports. When the Brazilian government opened its doors to vehicle imports, CAOA agreed to become the official and exclusive importer of the French automaker Renault. Renault quickly became the highest selling imported car in Brazil. Renault’s number one status lasted for several years until it ended its agreement with CAOA. CAOA began importing Subaru in 1998, which helped to triple the Japanese automaker’s sales in Brazil within a year. Then in 1999, CAOA began importing Hyundai vehicles, and Hyundai’s Tucson model became one of the top-selling cars in Brazil.
Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade became an auto manufacturer in 2007 when the CAOA Automobile Assembly S/A was built with $600 million of his own assets. This was Hyundai’s first manufacturing facility in Brazil. This new venture earned Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade the title of “Entrepreneur of the Year in Industry” by a Brazilian magazine.
Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade and his company have won several awards since 2010. A Brazilian magazine recognized the CAOA Automobile Assembly as a “Good Doer Company,” and another Brazilian magazine gave the facility the “Most Admired” award. In 2012, Hyundai gave the “Distributor of the Year” award to Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade, which was the first time this award was given to a non-European distributor. Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade continues to expand his company and winning awards. His status as Latin America’s largest vehicle distributor and manufacturer is well earned.