VW sets its manufacturing roots in Chattanooga
Volkswagen Group of America has formed its new manufacturing company, Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations, LLC, to be based in Chattanooga, TN. At a community briefing regarding the progress of the new Chattanooga facility, the company also unveiled the architectural renderings for the $1 billion plant.
“2009 will be a big year for Volkswagen in Chattanooga, and I am pleased with the continued progress we have made at the plant. With the formation of the manufacturing company, the architectural renderings and construction set to begin on the paint shop, we are well on track to meet all our scheduled milestones,” said Frank Fischer, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations. “Our commitment to manufacturing in the U.S. is reinforced at the highest levels of our company. The Chattanooga facility is a critical part of our 2018 strategy and will be a benchmark for all future plants across the company.”
The architectural renderings of the plant show an integrated assembly, paint and body shop, with a full-scale training center located immediately adjacent to the facility. The training center, developed in conjunction with Chattanooga State Community College will include a lean/corporate training center, a basic training center focused on the production processes, an advanced training center focused on the automotive components, an apprenticeship training center and a conference center. The training facility is scheduled to be completed by the 3rd quarter of 2009.
Progress also continues for hiring and supplier procurement. The company, which now has a head count of close to 100 full time employees, is preparing to move into new office space at Chestnut Towers in downtown Chattanooga in the first week of February. Those employees whose work is directly related to the construction of the new plant will remain at the Discovery Drive office space.
Additionally, equipment procurement for the paint shop has been issued, and more than 10 meetings with additional suppliers have been scheduled for the week of January 12 alone.
“In a tough economic climate, Volkswagen is pleased to be bringing jobs and investment to Tennessee,” Fischer said. “We appreciate the commitment from our state and local partners and look forward to an eventful year.”
With an 18% downturn in automobile sales for the U.S. market in 2008, Volkswagen Group of America sales remained close to its 2007 totals. As a result, the company’s U.S. market share increased more than 20%. Additionally, Volkswagen Group globally saw an increase in overall sales in 2008.