VW taps Tennessee for new US production site
Published 9:19 am Tuesday, July 15, 2008
“Volkswagen and Chattanooga, the ideal marriage: One of the world’s most admired companies and one of America’s most livable cities. This decision keeps Tennessee on the road to becoming the No. 1 state in auto jobs.” — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
“I believe Volkswagen chose Tennessee because of our shared values, our commitment to innovation and our strong respect for the environment. This project will have a significant impact on the economy of Tennessee and the region for decades to come.” — Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen.
“Alabama is obviously disappointed our state was not selected, but we are extremely pleased this Volkswagen plant will be located close to us.” — Alabama Gov. Bob Riley.
“Through twists and turns, our community has maintained focus, invested wisely and exercised tremendous effort and energy in recruiting a major employer to Enterprise South. The breaking of this final barrier and the realization of the vision to which we have held true will take us to levels we can only begin to imagine.” — U.S. Sen. and former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
“It was just a matter of time before a major auto manufacturer decided to locate at Enterprise South — and our time has arrived.” U.S. Rep. and Chattanooga resident Zach Wamp, R-Tenn.
“We started with a vision of transforming an idle Army facility into the source of thousands of family wage jobs. Over the last 14 years, I’ve worked with four different city mayors as well as county commissioners, city councilmen and countless others in overcoming barriers and objections to that plan.” — Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey.
“Volkswagen and Chattanooga have a lot in common. Both are serious about environmental sustainability and 21st Century manufacturing.” — Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield.
“This is a tremendous opportunity not only for Chattanooga but for the whole area, and shows the tremendous abilities that we have in Tennessee to lure business.” — State Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga.
“Volkswagen’s investment in this community means the hard work and dedication demonstrated by people at the state and local level to create one of the best business climates in the country is paying off.” — Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber.
“We’re very excited that Volkswagen is locating in the Tennessee Valley and has chosen to call Chattanooga, Tenn., home.” — Tennessee Valley Authority President and CEO Tom Kilgore.
“The University of Tennessee is committed to being a strong partner with both the city and with the Volkswagen Group to help maximize this tremendous opportunity.” — UT President John Petersen.
“This brings many job opportunities for our students, alumni and their families. I suspect that some departments and individual faculty members will find research opportunities working with Volkswagen and other businesses that follow the plant to Chattanooga.” UT-Chattanooga Chancellor Roger Brown.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Volkswagen AG has picked Chattanooga, Tenn., over sites in two other states for its new U.S. auto plant, Europe’s biggest automaker said Tuesday.
Sites in Alabama and Michigan were also considered for the plant, which is part of Volkswagen’s strategy to increase its presence in America. The company closed its last U.S. production facility in 1988 in western Pennsylvania.
Christian Wulff, the governor of Lower Saxony and a member of VW’s supervisory board, told The Associated Press that Volkswagen picked Chattanooga after the board debated the merits of the location and its benefits.
Volkswagen said in a later statement that it approved up to $991.4 million to build the facility, with the plant aiming for a capacity of 150,000 cars a year. It plans to employ 2,000 workers when it starts production in 2011.
“The USA market is an important part of our volume strategy and we are now very resolutely accessing that market,” chief executive Martin Winterkorn said in the statement. “Volkswagen will be extremely active there.”
The company holds only a 2 percent share of the U.S. market. VW officials have said the company intends to more than triple its U.S. sales to 1 million by 2018.
The German state of Lower Saxony owns more than 20 percent of Volkswagen.
Wulff said the new plant in the U.S., in addition to its factories in India and Russia, is part of the company’s strategy to become the world’s No. 2 automaker.
The automaker has said the surging euro has pushed along plans for a new production facility. The 15-nation currency hit a record high of $1.6038 on Tuesday, making goods exported from Germany more expensive in the United States.
Shares of Volkswagen, whose brands include VW, Audi, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti and Seat, were steady at 169.78 euros ($271.48) after the decision.