Volkswagen do Brasil
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Volkswagen do Brasil Ltda. is a subsidiary arm of Volkswagen Group, established in 1953 with local assembly of the Volkswagen Type 1 from parts imported from Germany. It produced over 20 million vehicles in Brazil, having been market leader for the majority of their more than sixty years in existence. Beginning in 1958, the Type 1 ("Fuscas") had a 24-year run as the number one in sales in Brazil. From 1987 until 2012, the Gol has been in first place in sales for 26 years straight.
Number of employees
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The Volkswagen assembly plant in Brazil was established after the Brazilian government prohibited the import of fully built-up vehicles in 1953. Its first president was Friedrich Schultz-Wenk, who had emigrated to Brazil in 1950 after a brief stint as a prisoner of war followed by some time in Wolfsburg. Their first plant was in Ipiranga, São Paulo and was a strict knock-down kit operation. In two years 2268 Fuscas and 552 Kombis were assembled there by hand. After Juscelino Kubitschek's import substitution programs began taking effect, Volkswagen was compelled to open a proper factory in São Bernardo do Campo. Work on the factory began in mid-1957. Originally only the Kombi was built locally from September 1957, but from January 1959 the 1200 cc "Fusca" also entered local production, with ever-growing local parts content. In 1959, VW started production at the plant near São Paulo.
Workers have been accusing Volkswagen do Brasil of spying on them starting in the 1970´s, which was during Brazil´s military dictatorship from 1964-1985. VW´s security personnel informed the political police on eventual oppositional activities. In 1976, mass arrests occurred and some VW employees were tortured. In 1979, Brazilian VW workers traveled to Wolfsburg to inform the CEO in person.
In 2014, the "truth commission" convened by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff found documents that "dozens of companies, including Volkswagen and other foreign automakers, helped the military identify union activists", including Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. In subsequent meetings before the São Paulo state commission, VW legal counsel have denied accusations and contested there was no document proving VW had violated human rights.
In 2015, activists and former VW employees in Brazil spoke out in public accusing the company´s silence about the persecution of its workers.
In November 2016, VW commissioned a second expert review of the situation by historian Christopher Kopper of Bielefeld University, which is due end of 2017. after its "chief historian Manfred Grieger quit around the same time as Kopper was appointed." Grieger had recommended to donate a memorial for those whose human rights violations. In the July 2017 ARD interview, former VW CEO Carl Hahn denied ever having known of security police activities. The Brazilian attorney general has been investigating.
Brazilian developed VolkswagensEdit
- SP1 & SP2
- 1500/Variant/Variant II
- Karmann Ghia TC
- Voyage - a Gol sedan, sold as the Volkswagen Fox in North America
- Parati - a Voyage/Fox station wagon derivative
- Saveiro - a Gol pickup truck
From 1971 to 1975 approximately 250 Brazil "kombi" buses were produced with Special Editions, these buses had +8 sky windows, mouldings, timer clock. These buses are called "de luxe," the German name is "Samba."
In 2012, Volkswagen built 852,086 units (including CKD kits), making them the biggest producer in the country and second in sales. Volkswagen operates four plants, in São Bernardo do Campo, Taubaté, and São Carlos. The São Carlos plant only makes engines.
Trucks and BusesEdit
From 1979 until 1999, Volkswagen do Brasil created and developed Volkswagen Caminhões Ltda, (the Volkswagen Trucks and Buses division), after which the operation was taken over by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. In December 2008, it was announced that Volkswagen Trucks and Buses was to be sold to MAN.
In 1986, Volkswagen entered a deal with Paccar to sell their trucks with Peterbilt or Kenworth badging in the United States. This would allow Paccar's dealers to offer Class 7 trucks without having to go the competition. Volkswagen's Latin American trucks had always been built much heavier than elsewhere in the world, where this sector has mainly been the responsibility of MAN. The Peterbilt-Volkswagen 200 was affectionately known as "Peter Rabbit."
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- Brian Winter Brazil probe of dictatorship period not satisfied by Volkswagen testimony Reuters, February 28, 2015
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