CAOA, or grupo CAOA, A Brazilian company, which assembles and distributes an array of automotive brands, is the result of a very unique inception in 1979.
Chairman of the board and the founder of the Sao Paulo company, Dr. Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade never intended to enter the automotive field. A physician by choice, Dr. Carlos made the entrepreneurial leap when he bought a Ford, Landau right as the dealership went belly-up. Since the Landau wasn’t forthcoming, the doctor proposed taking over management as compensation for the prepaid Landau.
Six years later the dealership had grown into the biggest in Brazil. Then, a handful of years later, in 1990, Brazil lifted importing strictures, significantly impacting CAOA, which became for a while the country’s official distributor of Renault vehicles. The trend continued. In 98 and 99 CAOA became the official importer of Subaru and then Hyundai respectively.
Up to his elbows in the automotive field, Dr. Carlos decided to push past buying and selling, creating a factory in Anápolis. With a license granted by Hyundai, the factory manufactured the brand’s HR and HD 78 trucks, also assembling an older model of the Tucson brand, and even generating versions of the Hyundai crossover ix35 for a time.
Admitting in a 2012 interview to journalist, Boris Feldman, that his biggest dream was the creation of a fully Brazilian car, Dr. Carlos Alberto de Oliveira was by then getting his design strategy chops by tweaking the vehicles he already worked with. Plans were in the works for an Italian design agency to revamp the Tucson body and a negotiation was underway with Fiat to create a national engine with which to equip a newer HD 78.
Today, the company also produces entirely Brazilian models of the Chery brand, a Chinese automobile operation which CAOA took over when it acquired 50.7% of the company’s shares. 40 years after the serendipitous turn of events that led Dr. Carlos Alberto de Oliveira into the auto industry, the company he made can claim responsibility for selling more than 1 million cars in the Brazilian market.