Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade — Respected Doctor Turned Entrepreneur

Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade — Respected Doctor Turned Entrepreneur

September 25, 2018 0 By Stephen Callahan

CAOA has sold more than one million vehicles.

Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade was born in João Pessoa, capital of the State of Paraíba (PB) in Brazil. He is a medical doctor and, when he still practiced medecine, was a respected physician throughout the North and Northeast of Brazil. Approximately 40 years ago, his career trajectory veered toward a Brazilian carmaker and distributor — CAOA.  Today, he is the Chairman of CAOA’s Board of Directors.

In 1979, the doctor became an entrepreneur. He acquired a Ford Landau from a dealership in Campina Grande (PB). The dealership declared bankruptcy before the car was ever delivered to Dr. Carlos Alberto.  He did not hesitate to propose that the bankrupt dealership be passed on to him to compensate for the pre-payment made for the Landau.

The deal was closed and CAOA was created. The company’s name is a reference to Dr. Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade’s initials. Dr. Carlos became an entrepreneur, started working at his newly founded company and, in less than six years, CAOA became the largest Ford dealership in Brazil.

Ready for new opportunities

In 1992, the Brazilian market opened its doors to imported vehicles, hitherto prohibited. The visionary Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade lost no time taking advantage of the opportunity. That same year, CAOA became the official and exclusive importer in Brazil of the French franchise Renault and elevated Renault to number one brand in sales in the imported segment.  A few years later, Renault itself came to Brazil and took back it’s right to import.

In 1998, CAOA became the official importer of the Japanese brand Subaru. Less than a year after it took over the dealership, CAOA tripled Subaru’s sales nationally.

Another brand that was already sold in the Brazilian market but only became successful under Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade’s management is South Korea’s Hyundai. In 1999, CAOA took over import and marketing of Hyundai models and made it the leader in the imported cars segment with theTucson model.

Dreaming of his first factory

In 2007, the long and harmonious partnership between CAOA and Hyundai allowed Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade to fulfill his dream of building an auto manufacturer. That year, after spending USD$600 million of his own money, the entrepreneur cut the ribbon of CAOA Automobile S/A, located in the Agribusiness District of Anápolis, in the State of Goiás (GO), and the first Hyundai factory in Brazil.

The businessman Carlos Alberto chose Goiás as the headquarters for his factory on purpose. The state is strategically located on the Brazilian map, both for the development of a large and growing supply chain, and for distribution of vehicles throughout Brazil and neighboring countries.

His dream come true—building his own factory—also resulted in Dr. Carlos Alberto receiving the title of ‘Entrepreneur of the Year in Industry’, by IstoÉ Dinheiro Magazine in 2007.

Company and business awards

Respect for and preservation of the environment are part of CAOA Automobile plant’s culture. In 2010, its program to reuse waste from vehicle production and participation in the reforestation of the Brazilian Midwest, led to the Automobile Plant’s first award – recognized as “Good doer Company” by IstoÉ Dinheiro. Next, for three years in a row, the CAOA plant was recognized as the “Most Admired” company by the weekly magazine Carta Capital.

In 2012, Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade won another award — “Distributor of the Year.” This award is given by Hyundai’s parent company and the 179 distributors of the brand worldwide compete for it. The Brazilian businessman was the first distributor outside Europe to receive this recognition.

In 2014, CAOA was ranked first— both in sales and after sales — in the annual satisfaction survey organized by the JD Power Institute, a world-renowned consulting firm specialized in Customer Satisfaction surveys. In 2017, the company repeated the feat. CAOA’s is a well-crafted marketing strategy, bringing to the Brazilian market vehicles that have become very desirable to consumers.

One more step in the right direction

Recently, in 2017, CAOA, Latin America’s largest automobile distribution and manufacturing conglomerate, and Chery, the largest exporter of Chinese vehicles, partnered in a historic joint venture agreement to launch CAOA CHERY, a new 100% Brazilian automaker.

The goal of the partnership is to bring together the best of both companies: the engineering strength and high standards for sales and after sales experience that CAOA has, with Chery’s advanced technologies.


Currently, the company founded by Dr. Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade CAOA is present in every region of Brazil, representing Ford, Hyundai and Subaru, as well importing exclusively Hyundai and Subaru models in Brazil since the late 1990s. CAOA also manufactures the Tucson, iX35 and New Tucson SUVs, as well as the HR and HD80 trucks, at its factory – CAOA Assembly Plant – in the city of Anápolis (GO).

In its 40 years in operation, CAOA has surpassed the mark of one million vehicles sold in Brazil.