German President Joachim Gauck visits Volkswagen in Brazil

German President Joachim Gauck today visited Volkswagen’s Brazilian plant in Anchieta in the state of São Paulo. He was received by Dr. Michael Macht, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft responsible for Group production and the South America region. Accompanied by Thomas Schmall, President of Volkswagen do Brasil, Gauck viewed the Volkswagen Gol assembly line and gained an overview of the innovative products and production processes of Volkswagen do Brasil.

Up to 2016, the Volkswagen Group is investing €3.4 billion in Brazil in new products and technologies as well as the expansion of production capacities. “We place particular emphasis on sustainable production at our six plants in Brazil and the expansion of renewable power generation in Brazil. Through these investments, we will be making our plants even more environmentally compatible and efficient,” said Dr. Macht.

President Gauck visited the vocational training centre at the Anchieta plant. The centre is operated by Volkswagen do Brasil and SENAI, the National Service for Industrial Apprenticeships. Since 1973, more than 6000 skilled workers have been trained at the plant on the basis of the German dual model of vocational training.

Gauck then informed himself about the many sustainability projects of Volkswagen do Brasil. The President was welcomed by “Coral da Gente”, a choir consisting of children from the deprived districts of São Paulo. Another building brick of Volkswagen’s comprehensive social commitment in Brazil is the initiative “A Chance to Play”, a program initiated by the Group Works Council of Volkswagen and aid organization terre des hommes. The project aims to improve the future prospects of children and young people in deprived areas of Brazil. Sport, learning and study opportunities for tens of thousands of young people are supported. In addition, Volkswagen do Brasil is installing water pumps in the driest regions of Brazil within the framework of the “Bomba d’Água Popular” project,. Since 2005, more than 1000 pumps have been installed to supply water free of charge to 140,000 people in Brazil.

Volkswagen has become a motor for environmental sustainability in Brazil. In March 2003, the company already launched flex-fuel vehicles. More than 86% of all new cars in Brazil now feature this powertrain technology which allows operation using gasoline and/or bio-ethanol, which cuts CO2 emissions.
As one of the first automakers in Brazil, Volkswagen is also investing in the generation of energy from renewable sources. Since 2010, Volkswagen has taken almost 20 percent of the power it needs from its own Anhanguera hydropower plant, also located in the state of São Paulo. Volkswagen plans the construction of a second hydropower plant in Brazil and by this company intends to raise the share of green energy to more than 90 percent in the future, with around 40 percent being supplied from its own facilities.

Volkswagen do Brasil is also involved in a large number of nature preservation projects in the São Paulo region. For example, around the reservoir for Anhanguera hydropower plant, Volkswagen has created a green belt with a length of 5.8 kilometers and an area of 116 hectares. This wooded area forms part of a reforestation program for over 100 indigenous tree species.

On March 23, 2013, Volkswagen do Brasil celebrated its 60th anniversary. With a total of more than 20 million vehicles produced, Volkswagen is the largest automaker in Brazil and also the largest exporter in the Brazilian automobile industry. To date, Volkswagen has exported more than 3 million vehicles to 147 countries. In 2012, the Volkswagen Gol was Brazil’s best-selling vehicle for the 26th year in succession.