Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe along with Volkswagen AG announced that Chattanooga will be home to the company’s first electric vehicle manufacturing facility in North America.
The project represents an investment of $800 million by Volkswagen and the creation of 1,000 jobs in Hamilton County.
“The shift toward electric vehicles is a trend that can be seen worldwide, and Volkswagen’s decision to locate its first North American EV manufacturing facility in Chattanooga underscores Tennessee’s manufacturing strength and highly-skilled workforce,” Haslam said. “As one of Hamilton County’s top employers, these additional 1,000 jobs will have a lasting impact on the region. I thank Volkswagen for its partnership and also applaud the company for its ongoing commitment to education and workforce alignment, which helps Tennessee build a pipeline of talent for years to come.”
“Today’s announcement is a tremendous win for Tennessee as it shows that our state continues to be a prime location for foreign direct investment,” Rolfe said. “With a current workforce of 3,500, nearly 20 percent of Tennesseans employed by German companies are employed by Volkswagen. We appreciate Volkswagen for its continued confidence in our state and for the addition of 1,000 jobs in Hamilton County.”
Chattanooga will be the first manufacturing facility in North America that will produce vehicles using Volkswagen’s modular electric toolkit chassis, or MEB. The first Volkswagen electric vehicle will roll out in 2022.
“The U.S. is one of the most important locations for us, and producing electric cars in Chattanooga is a key part of our growth strategy in North America,” said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG. "The management team, led by Scott Keogh, is committed to continuing to increase our market share in the coming years. Together with our ongoing investments and this increase in local production, we are strengthening the foundation for sustainable growth of the Volkswagen brand in the U.S."
In addition to Chattanooga, Volkswagen is building the first dedicated EV production facility in Zwickau, Germany, starting MEB production by the end of 2019. Volkswagen will also add EV production at facilities in Anting and Foshan, in China, in 2020, and in the German cities of Emden and Hanover by 2022. The VW brand has forecasted selling 150,000 EVs by 2020 worldwide, increasing that number to 1 million by 2025.
Volkswagen’s Chattanooga facility is more than 3 million square feet and situated on 1,400 acres. In 2011, the Chattanooga plant became the first and only automobile manufacturing facility in the world to be certified LEED Platinum. The Volkswagen midsize Atlas SUV and Passat sedan are currently built in Chattanooga. More than 100,000 Atlas SUVs and 700,000 Passats have been manufactured at the plant.
In March 2018, Volkswagen announced an additional investment of $340 million in Chattanooga to build the five-seat version of the Atlas, the Atlas Cross Sport, which will begin production later this year. The Atlas Cross Sport announcement brought Volkswagen’s total investment at that time to $2.3 billion.
Local leaders and the Tennessee Valley Authority praised Volkswagen for its decision to expand its footprint in Southeast Tennessee.
“This is another exciting day for Volkswagen and Hamilton County,” Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said. “Volkswagen has again proven to be a tremendous economic partner with this $800 million expansion that will create another 1,000 jobs for Hamilton County.”
“Volkswagen’s latest investment in Chattanooga is great news for our city. The 1,000 jobs this line will create means wages are growing and our city is stronger,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said. “For more than a decade, Volkswagen has proven time and again that when they invest in Chattanooga, their company and our community succeed together.”
“TVA and EPB are excited to congratulate Volkswagen on its decision to expand operations in Chattanooga,” said TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley. “Helping to facilitate job creation is fundamental to TVA’s mission of service and we are privileged to partner with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, city of Chattanooga and Hamilton County to facilitate impactful new job creation by Volkswagen, one of our region’s major employers.”
Tennessee ranks No. 1 in the nation for automobile manufacturing employment concentration. The state is also home to three major automotive assembly plants and more than 900 suppliers that operate in 88 of the state’s 95 counties.
Chattanooga and Hamilton County are represented by Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R – Chattanooga), Sen. Bo Watson (R – Hixson), Rep. Mike Carter (R – Ooltewah), Rep. Yusuf Hakeem (D – Chattanooga), Rep. Patsy Hazlewood (R – Signal Mountain), Rep. Esther Helton (R – East Ridge) and Rep. Robin Smith (R – Hixson) in the Tennessee General Assembly.
About Volkswagen of America, Inc.: Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc., an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWoA) is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. VWoA’s operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state -of-the- art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Volkswagen Group is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. VWoA sells the Atlas, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, e-Golf, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, Passat, Tiguan, and Tiguan Limited vehicles through more than 650 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen of America online at www.vw.com or media.vw.com to learn more.
About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development: The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tnecd.com. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tnecd.