Founded in the late 1980s, CAOA Group later became the largest dealership representing Ford vehicles in Latin America. Owner Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade started the company after he attempted to buy a Ford Landau from a dealership named Vepel in 1979 and was offered a job within the company after it went bankrupt and could not deliver his new car to him. He worked at Vepel for 6 years before venturing out to start his own Ford auto distributorship. After his business expanded in 1992, he not only manufactured Ford cars, but he also took over the assembly duties of the Japanese car brand known as Subaru in 1998, and the Korean brand Hyundai in 1999. In 2007, he opened up the CAOA Vehicle Assembly factory in Anapolis, the agribusiness district.
By September of 2017, Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade acquired 51% of the manufacturing operation of the Chinese auto brand Chery, and after this acquisition, he started a new assembly company named CAOA Chery, which he plans to invest $2 billion in within the next 5 years in order to assure its success. Due to his keen business sense and leadership skills, Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade was later honored with the Entrepreneur of the Year award by his assembly company and the magazine Isto E Dinheiro.
Recognized as one of the wealthiest businessmen in Brazil, with a net worth of over $2 billion, he was added to the Forbes magazine Billionaire List in February of 2017. His long and successful career in the auto industry can be credited in part to his willingness to work hard at learning how to be an effective and strategic leader over the years. Getting his start in a car dealership that compensated him with a job after not being able to deliver his vehicle to him so many years ago was what sparked his interest and passion for auto making and distribution. The letters CAOA in his company’s name was taken from the initials of his own name. Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade was born in Joao Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil on November 25, 1943.