SOURCE: Volkswagen Group of America

Volkswagen Group of America

July 16, 2013 09:57 ET

Volkswagen Chattanooga Celebrates 5th Anniversary

CHATTANOOGA, TN--(Marketwired - Jul 16, 2013) - Today marks the fifth anniversary of the day that civic and government officials gathered with Volkswagen executives at the Hunter Museum in downtown Chattanooga to announce the decision to build an automobile manufacturing facility in this emergent mid-sized Southern city.

Much has happened since that time -- the construction of the world's only LEED Platinum certified factory, the hiring of over 2,500 people with a passion for detail in manufacturing excellence, the introduction of the all-new Passat, which went on to win the 2012 Motor Trend magazine Car of the Year award and the full ramp-up of the factory that led to production of more than 150,000 Passats in 2012.

"It's very gratifying to think back on the past five years and the amazing work that our team members have done to make this project an unqualified success," said Frank Fischer, CEO and Chair of Volkswagen Chattanooga. "But now we've reached the end of the beginning and we will move forward into new challenges and new successes," Fischer said.

"I'm proud to congratulate Volkswagen on their success over the last five years and could not be more gratified by the tremendous job creation that has occurred in Tennessee as a result of their investment," said Tennessee Senator Bob Corker.

"The Chattanooga-Volkswagen relationship has proven to be the ideal marriage, bringing together a central location, a strong Chattanooga workforce -- and all of this in a state driven by pro-growth policies that welcome, rather than discourage, business," said Senator Lamar Alexander.

A recent University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UTK) research study showed that Volkswagen Chattanooga had created 12,400 full-time jobs, is responsible for $643.1 million in annual income and has attracted 17 supplier companies to the area. The study also reported that all jobs paid directly by Volkswagen Chattanooga earn on average $50,000 annually, which includes bonus and overtime.

"Since Volkswagen made the bold decision to invest over $1 billion to build Volkswagen Chattanooga, over 250,000 award-winning Passats have been produced and the LEED Platinum certified factory has become a blueprint for Volkswagen manufacturing facilities worldwide," said Jonathan Browning, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. "We would like to applaud the employees for their commitment and thank the city of Chattanooga and the State of Tennessee for welcoming us with open arms," Browning said.

"Since Volkswagen announced it was coming to Chattanooga, we've seen five years of incredible growth from the company, and we look forward many more productive years ahead," Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said. "I want to especially thank the hard-working Tennesseans at the Chattanooga plant for turning out the high quality products that have been such an important part of the success we've seen."

"Volkswagen's success is Hamilton County's success!" said Jim Coppinger, Hamilton County Mayor. "Volkswagen has far exceeded its commitment to this community and our expectations. Volkswagen's investment in Hamilton County has triggered millions of dollars in additional development in the Enterprise South Supplier Park and beyond. When I travel, I get great satisfaction seeing a Passat on the road, knowing it was made in Hamilton County," Coppinger said.

This year Volkswagen Chattanooga also opened the largest single solar installation at an automotive manufacturing facility in the United States and the biggest solar installation in the state of Tennessee. The solar park occupies 33 acres and contains 33,600 solar modules to produce 13.1 gigawatt hours of electricity per year -- equivalent to the energy consumed annually by around 1,200 homes in the area.

"The positive impact of Volkswagen's presence in Chattanooga is incredible and cannot be understated. It has helped transform us both internally as a city and externally in how Chattanooga is viewed by the rest of the country and world," said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.

"Volkswagen has had a transformative effect on Chattanooga," said Ron Harr, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Chamber. "From environmental stewardship to leading the resurgence in American manufacturing, Volkswagen helped us build on efforts we've been working on for years while spotlighting our community world-wide."

About Volkswagen Chattanooga

Volkswagen has invested $1 billion in the local economy for the Chattanooga plant and has created more than 5,000 jobs in the region. According to independent studies, the Volkswagen plant is expected to generate $12 billion in income growth and an additional 9,500 jobs related to its investment. The Chattanooga manufacturing facility builds the all-new 2012 Passat Sedan, specifically designed for the North American market and winner of the Motor Trend magazine 2012 Car of the Year award. In 2012, it produced more than 152,400 Volkswagen Passats. Volkswagen Chattanooga is the first and still only car factory worldwide with a LEED Platinum certification. It is also certified according to ISO 14001 for its environmental management system and according to ISO 50001 for its energy management system. Once again, Kelly Blue Book named the Passat to the 10 Best New Sedans Under $25,000 in July of 2013.

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