Volkswagen do Brasil

Photo: Plant São Bernardo do Campo

Established in 1953, Volkswagen do Brasil is the largest vehicle manufacturer and one of the largest private companies in Brazil.

The company has a distribution network of over 600 dealers, the biggest in the country, and about 23,000 employees working in four plants: São Bernardo do Campo, Taubaté, São Carlos and São José dos Pinhais.

Over the company’s six decades in Brazil, Volkswagen has built a significant brand presence, with more than 20 million vehicles produced, more than 3 million vehicles exported and domestic sales in excess of 17 million units; the Gol has been the best-selling car on the Brazilian market for 26 consecutive years. The plant in São Bernardo do Campo was the first plant to be built by Volkswagen outside Germany.

Volkswagen do Brasil has organized numerous initiatives focusing on sustainability, including the development of biofuel technology, the development of vehicles with low fuel consumption and emissions (BlueMotion), investment in clean, renewable energy generation using PCHs (Small Hydroelectric Power Plants), and the use of software to monitor and reduce negative environmental impacts in production processes.

2015 Highlights

“Volkswagen do Brasil was awarded the title of Brazil’s Most Admired Company by CartaCapital magazine.”

Volkswagen Group Works Council Helps more than 94,000 Children by Organizing “A Chance to Play” Program

A total of 94,359 children and young people benefited directly from “A Chance to Play”, a program organized by the World Committee of Volkswagen Workers in partnership with NGO Terre des Hommes Germany, and supported by Volkswagen. Indirectly, the program is estimated to have benefited over 490,000 people all over the country.

In January 2013, the program launched 12 unprecedented projects in the vicinity of the four Volkswagen do Brasil plants (São Bernardo do Campo, Taubaté, São Carlos and São José dos Pinhais), using soccer and play to give children and young people from socially disadvantaged areas big opportunities for new experiences, wider perspectives and personal growth. The projects were supported until the end of 2014, along with several other activities. The program’s closing event was held in June 2015 at the Metalworkers’ Union of the ABC Region in São Bernardo do Campo.

Launch of “Think Blue. Factory. + House.” Internal Campaign

2015 saw the launch of an internal communication campaign called “Think Blue. Factory. + House.”, which provides Volkswagen employees with incentives to apply the good sustainability practices they have already adopted at work to other areas of their lives, leading their families and communities by example. In this virtuous circle, employees can put good ideas from the company into action in their homes and neighborhoods; they may also have or come across new sustainability ideas at home or in their communities that can be applied at work. Volkswagen was inspired to launch this campaign by the initiative shown by the company’s employees, as reflected in several examples of individual creativity resulting in major changes in people’s home lives, at work and in the community as a whole.

Leadership in Exports

In 2015, Volkswagen do Brasil, historically Brazil’s largest automaker and automotive export leader, celebrated 45 years since the first shipment of VWB vehicles. The company has exported over 3.3 million assembled units (passenger and light commercial vehicles, not including CKD) to 147 countries on five continents. In 2015, Volkswagen do Brasil’s exports grew 35% over 2014 – 10 percentage points higher than the growth rate posted by the Brazilian automotive industry as a whole, which ended 2015 with a 24.8% increase in exports. According to ANFAVEA (Brazil’s National Association of Automotive Manufacturers), the sector exported 416,955 units in 2015; 30% of this total was shipped by Volkswagen (124,959 units exported to 16 countries).

In June 2015, Volkswagen announced that the company would invest R$460 million (roughly equivalent to €131 million) in the São Carlos engine plant. The investment should be completed by 2018 and focuses on the new EA211 engine family – including an assembly line dedicated to the components necessary for manufacturing the 1.0 TSI engine, preparations for increasing the plant’s production capacity, and a new line of crankshafts (one of the vital parts of the engine, responsible for transforming the energy produced by combustion into torque). Earlier, between 2012 and 2013, the plant received R$425 million (around €121 million) for developing a new production shop, installing new production lines for the EA211 engine family, and increasing production capacity for EA111 engines.

Other Projects

Volkswagen up! 1.0 TSI

In July 2015, Volkswagen do Brasil launched a revolutionary compact car – the up! TSI. The model was the most awarded Brazilian vehicle in 2015, winning a total of 12 awards in 2015 and 2016. The new 1.0 TSI Total Flex engine is the most advanced Volkswagen engine made in Brazil, and the first engine with direct injection, turbocharger and flexible technology to be produced in the country. It delivers best-in-category performance: 0-100 km/h in 9.1 seconds with a top speed of 184 km/h (ethanol). The up! TSI is one of the most economical and flexible vehicles in Brazil. It is also the safest car in its category and offers innovative features that have revolutionized the Brazilian market. Brazil was the first country in the world to offer the up! with the new 1.0 TSI Total Flex engine, which meets the Volkswagen Group’s most stringent durability and quality standards.

Socioeconomic Impact Assessment along the Value Chain

In July 2015, Volkswagen do Brasil hired consulting firm Deloitte to conduct a socioeconomic impact study of our value chain (planning, supply chain, production, distribution, sales & use, and final destination), including all Volkswagen do Brasil plants. This study allowed us to evaluate our internal impacts, as well as impacts over the entire lifecycle. The focal points of the study were:

  •  Identification of impacts – 129
  •  Benchmarking (Renault, Toyota, Fiat, Ford, GM)
  •  SWOT analysis

Volkswagen Foundation

All Volkswagen Foundation activities and projects are planned and carried out in partnership with the public and private sectors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This allows the joint implementation of projects that influence public policies and are sustainable in the long term.

  •  Education Pillar: Aceleração da Aprendizagem, Aprendendo com Arte, Brincar, Entre na Roda, Plataforma do Letramento, Jogo da Vida em Trânsito and Pró-Educar Brasil.
  •  Social Development Pillar: Volkswagen na Comunidade, Costurando o Futuro and Instituto Baccarelli.

Over the past 13 years, Volkswagen Foundation activities included in its educational pillar have benefited 1,437,884 students, 18,800 teachers and 5,719 schools / institutions in 18 states and 441 municipalities. Since 2008, its social development pillar has directly benefited 34,642 people and 2,736 institutions in eight states.

Maio Amarelo – “Yewllow May”

Volkswagen do Brasil supports the “Yellow May – Attention for Life” awareness campaign promoted by the Observatório Nacional para Segurança no Trânsito (National Observatory for Road Safety), which aims to reduce traffic accidents. The name of the initiative references the month – May 2011 – in which the United Nations declared the start of its “Decade of Action for Road Safety”. The “Pedestrian Safety World Week” is also celebrated in May, while yellow symbolizes the color of attention and of warning signs in traffic.

Stakeholder Dialog

Volkswagen do Brasil has maintained a “Corporate Responsibility Yearbook” based on GRI guidelines (level A+) since 2012. Every three years, we conduct a stakeholder dialog process so that we can update our materiality matrix and report on information of relevance to the company and our stakeholders. In 2015, this process included stakeholders such as individual and corporate customers, surrounding communities, the four Volkswagen do Brasil plants themselves, dealerships, companies in the automotive sector, employees, suppliers, public-sector agencies, financial institutions, company executives, headquarters in Germany, NGOs, and trade unions and associations. This process involved more than 400 interviews and discussion meetings. A total of 38 topics were mapped, and 15 of these were prioritized as the most relevant for Volkswagen do Brasil and its stakeholders. These topics include:

  1. Eco-efficient products
  2. Efficient production: use of sustainable processes, resources and materials 
  3. Sustainable supply chain 
  4. Economic performance in Brazil 
  5. Risk management, compliance and conformity 
  6. Business ethics 
  7. Vehicle safety
  8. Employment 
  9. Emissions
  10. Mobility 
  11. Social investments 
  12. Vision and strategy 
  13. Disposal of materials and parts; vehicle maintenance
  14. Customer satisfaction
  15. Occupational health and safety

Upon due analysis of the materiality matrix in a meeting with the Executive Board of Volkswagen do Brasil, executives decided not to include the topic of mobility in the 2014 edition for reasons related to business strategy. The members of the Executive Board of Volkswagen do Brasil did, however, decide to include three additional topics because of their high relevance to the business:

  1. Technology
  2. Labor relations
  3. Sustainability education.

These additional topics were mapped in the materiality matrix, but ranked below the cut-off line (set at 50% for both company and stakeholders).

In addition to the survey, Volkswagen do Brasil maintains a close relationship with all of its target groups throughout the year. Examples include the employee opinion survey, which is conducted every two years and measures levels of job satisfaction among employees; periodic meetings with union entities; meetings with the Suppliers Committee; and the annual aftersales event with dealerships. Other stakeholder dialog activities are detailed in the yearbook. 


„ÉPOCA NEGÓCIOS 100“ Ranking

Named “Most Prestigious Company” in the Vehicles category of the “ÉPOCA NEGÓCIOS 100” magazine ranking, based on a survey of about 10,000 people in all parts of the country.


Volkswagen took first place in the “Automotive Industry” category in a study of Brazil’s most popular brands published by Troiano Branding in partnership with newspaper “O Estado de S. Paulo”.

Communication with Journalists

Winner for the fifth consecutive year of the “Companies that Communicate Best with Journalists” Award in the Automotive category, presented by “NEGOCIOS DA COMUNICAÇÃO” magazine.

“Top of Mind”-Award

Winner of the “Top of Mind” Award for the 25th time. Since the award was first presented in 1991, our brand is the best remembered of any car manufacturer in the country.

"Engine of the Year to 2.0L"

The Volkswagen 1.0 TSI Total Flex engine won the “Engine of the Year to 2.0L” Award, bestowed by “AUTOESPORTE” magazine.


Volkswagen Do Brasil was recognized as the “Automotive Industry Leader” in the Brazil Leaders Award sponsored by LIDE.