German Chancellor and VW Chairman open Volkswagen Virtual Reality Centre in Brazil
Innovative vehicle development facility is first of its kind in South America
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was given a warm welcome in the Brazilian city of São Bernardo do Campo by Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, during her tour of South America. In the presence of other representatives from industry and politics, the two dignatories officially opened the Virtual Reality Centre, an innovation in vehicle development and the first of its kind in South America, at the VW site near São Paulo.
“In Brazil – as all over the world – Volkswagen stands for successful products, the highest quality and innovative strength. The new Virtual Reality Centre will help to continue this success story,” Prof. Winterkorn commented. Europe’s largest automaker has been in Brazil since 1953 and the workforce of some 21,000 today produces passenger cars, busses and heavy trucks as well as engines and gearboxes at five sites.
In the 1970s Volkswagen was the first automaker to develop vehicles locally for the South American market with the participation of Brazilian engineers. The Virtual Reality Centre, in which Volkswagen is investing some R$4.2 million (approx. 1.6 million euros), is unique in Brazil. The only other comparable facility worldwide can be found at Audi in Deutschland. The prime innovative highlight is a five-meter wide screen which can be used to develop a new vehicle model as if it were physically real. This new technology brings greater quality and shortens development time.
For the Volkswagen Group, Brazil is the third largest single market after China and Germany. Last year, the company sold 581,300 vehicles in Brazil, a 32 percent year-on-year rise. VW do Brasil is not only one of the largest private-sector companies in Brazil, but also delivers vehicles to the entire South American region. In 2007, the region accounted for 12 percent (744,200 vehicles) of all Volkswagen Group vehicle deliveries.