Sao Paulo - Now that more than 5.7 million cars have been made here, the Next Generation of the most successful automobile in South America for the last 21 years is being launched: the Gol by Volkswagen. This compact car, which is manufactured in Brazil, is precisely geared toward the local demands of customers in South America. Hence the Gol can be driven on any mixture ratio of gasoline and ethanol without the slightest loss of horsepower thanks to its Totalflex technology, like all the Volkswagen models made in Brazil.
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was invited by Viktor Klima, VW’s South America head. He was the first person to take a seat behind the steering wheel of the new Gol, as Garcia Sanz, member of the board of management, elucidated the main features and significance of this economical compact car: "It’s simply a captivating automobile, which is going to write a new chapter in the success story of the Gol," Sanz said.
Lula da Silva recollected the beginnings of the bivalent Volkswagens, which are primarily operated in South America with ethanol made from sugarcane: "A couple years ago I was inaugurating the production of TotalFlex vehicles here. It all began with a few cars for a test phase, and nowadays nearly every single car in Brazil is running with renewable fuel."
Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the board of management for the Volkswagen brand, in charge of Technical Development, underscored Brazil’s importance as a development location: "The New Gol’s design and technology were conceived here; this Volkswagen, like every other model we make, stands for topmost quality as well as technological innovation." Thomas Schmall, President of Volkswagen do Brazil, particularly extolled the commitment of all the employees at the two plants at Anchietá and Taubaté. "The Gol is a goal that’s shot for Brazil," said Schmall, in a reference to the soccer world.
Europe’s largest car manufacturer has been active in Brazil since 1953. It produces automobiles, buses and heavy trucks as well as engines and gear boxes at five locations, employing about 21,000 people. 18 million vehicles have rolled off their conveyor belts since then. In the 1970s Volkswagen was the first automobile manufacturer that, in conjunction with Brazilian engineers, locally developed vehicles for the regional South American markets. Volkswagen provides the greatest variety of all car manufacturers in Brazil, offering 17 models, and maintains a network of about 600 dealers.
Brazil is the second largest foreign market for the Volkswagen Group after China. Last year the corporation sold 581,300 vehicles here, 32 percent more than in 2006. VW do Brasil is not merely one of the largest privately held companies in Brazil but operates as automobile supplier for all of South America as well. Twelve percent (744,200 vehicles) of all deliveries of the Volkswagen Group were accounted for in this region in 2007.
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