CAOA, led by Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade, is Latin America’s largest distribution and manufacturing conglomerate in the automobile sector. However, the way Andrade got his start is slightly unexpected. He is a physician by training who bought a stake in an automobile dealership after a car he had purchased was never delivered. When he found out the dealer had gone bankrupt, Andrade decided to turn the business around and, as a result CAOA has grown steadily since those early days in the 1980s. In six short years, Andrade owned the largest Ford dealer in Latin America, an impressive feat for a career changer.
In 1992, Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade saw a strategic opening when the Brazilian government re-opened the country to automobile imports. CAOA became the country’s first and only Renault dealership, and within three years Renault had become the leading import in Brazil. When Renault established its own presence in Brazil, Andrade’s dealership ended its relationship with the French company, leading the automaker to slide into ninth place in the Brazilian market.
In 1998, CAOA became affiliated with Subaru. Thanks to automaker’s partnership with CAOA, sales tripled in less than a year. This was followed by a deal with Hyundai in 1999, which paved the way for the success of the Hyundai Tucson in Brazil. In 2007, CAOA began manufacturing Hyundai vehicles in Goias. Entering the manufacturing side of the car business was a watershed moment for Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade and the CAOA organization as an opportunity to establish the company’s own supply chain and to capitalize on growing demand from Brazil’s neighboring trade partners.
For this daring move, Dr. Carlos was named Entrepreneur of the Year by IstoE Magazine. Likewise, CAOA’s new facility was recognized for being socially responsible for its environmentally sound practices, by the same publication.