Volkswagen Celebrates 1 Year in Chattanooga - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Volkswagen Celebrates 1 Year in Chattanooga

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UPDATED WEDNESDAY 11:55AM

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - The local media respresentative for Volkswagen issued the following news release to Channel 3 Eyewitness News this morning to tout VW's commitment to local jobs.

Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations, LLC today marked the one-year anniversary of its decision to build a U.S. automobile production facility in Chattanooga, Tenn., by announcing that nearly $436 million in local contracts have been awarded to date.

The amount includes almost $198 million awarded by the city, state and Volkswagen to contractors and subcontractors for plant construction, with another $230 million over the next 20 years. Additionally, Volkswagen has awarded contracts totaling more than $238 million on an annual turnover basis with local parts suppliers for the New Midsized Sedan to be produced in Chattanooga starting in early 2011.

"These contracts, while impressive, are more than just numbers. They are a clear testament to the progress we've been able to achieve in one short year with our partners in Chattanooga and Tennessee," said Frank Fischer, CEO and Chairman of Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations, LLC. "Our decision one year ago to invest in a U.S. production facility was a strategic step forward in our commitment to the North American market, and we look forward to continuing the journey."

On July 15, 2008, Volkswagen announced plans to produce a car designed specifically for the North American consumer at a new production facility in Chattanooga, investing $1 billion in the local economy and creating more than 2,000 direct jobs. The Chattanooga plant is an important element of the company's overall U.S. strategy of connecting with its customers, increasing its competitiveness and tripling its U.S. customer base in the next decade.

"Volkswagen's investment in Tennessee is already making a significant impact on our state," said Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen. "Despite a challenging economy, Volkswagen has moved forward at full speed on the project and put hundreds of Tennesseans to work before the first vehicle rolls off the assembly line. I've called this project an ‘anchor' from which additional investment will follow, and I feel as confident about it today as when it was first announced." 

Construction of the Chattanooga production facility at Enterprise South Industrial Park is underway, with start of production of 150,000 vehicles annually on schedule for early 2011. Work is more than halfway complete on the paint shop facility, which will use pioneering technology to minimize waste and reduce carbon emissions by more than 20 percent. 

"Our project in Chattanooga is made up of four pillars - the plant, the product, our suppliers and our people. We are committed to hiring locally, and we are convinced that we will have a best-in-class workforce," said Hans-Herbert Jagla, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, for the Chattanooga Operations.

Meanwhile, hiring for professional positions continues and will accelerate through the remainder of 2009. More than 100 local employees have been hired to date in areas such as purchasing, human resources, IT and finance. Volkswagen plans to begin accepting applications for production positions in late 2009, with hiring set to begin in early 2010.

"Volkswagen's decision to anchor its U.S. auto production in Chattanooga was the culmination of a shared community vision and years of investment to recruit a major manufacturer to Enterprise South. Not only will the Chattanooga region be transformed by the tremendous economic impact and new job creation, but our entire state will reap great benefits from suppliers and other supporting businesses this facility will attract," said U.S. Senator Bob Corker.  "Even in the midst of a challenging economic environment, construction of the plant and development of its supplier network remain on track. All of us are anxious for the day when the first vehicles roll off the assembly line."

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander remembered one year ago calling Volkswagen and Chattanooga the "ideal marriage." "And it's clear the relationship has been a tremendous success. Volkswagen's wise investment one year ago in Tennessee's low-cost, central location, as well as in its strong auto workforce and superior four-lane highway system, has made winners of all involved. I congratulate Volkswagen and Chattanooga on a great first year together," Alexander said. 

"The excitement Tennesseans felt one year ago at the announcement of the creation of thousands of high paying, quality jobs in our region by Volkswagen's billion dollar investment has not worn off in the least," said Congressman Zach Wamp. "Local contracts have been awarded, the paint shop is beginning to take shape and next generation manufacturing jobs are being created in the heart of the Tennessee Valley Corridor. Years of planning and hard work continue to pay major dividends for Tennesseans."

"After years of site preparations and recruitment efforts, it is remarkable to see how much progress Volkswagen has made in just one year," said Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey. "In addition to successfully maintaining an ambitious construction schedule, Volkswagen has shown its commitment to our citizens and to becoming engaged in our community."

"We couldn't have asked for a better economic development partner than Volkswagen," said Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield. "As many communities are experiencing difficult economic challenges, Volkswagen has given our whole region cause for hope and the prospect of thousands of new jobs."

"Volkswagen committed more than a billion dollars in capital for this project, and we're already seeing the impact that commitment is having on companies in Tennessee and throughout the region," said Matt Kisber, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. "Our agency is already talking to companies interested in following Volkswagen's investment, and I'm confident the ripple effect in our state's economy is just beginning."

"We set out to recruit a company that would partner with us in creating 21st Century manufacturing jobs for the people of the Chattanooga region," said Tom Edd Wilson, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. "Volkswagen is helping us realize our jobs-creation goals and so much more. Volkswagen is a world-class company on the rise, and it is also a perfect fit for our community culture and aspirations."

According to studies, the Chattanooga plant is expected to generate $12 billion in income growth and an additional 9,500 jobs over the life of the project. The company has announced that at least 10 percent of the suppliers for the production facility will be minority and women-owned businesses by start of production and that five percent of suppliers for the vehicle will be minority and women-owned by start of production, with the goal of 10 percent by 2015. Volkswagen is partnering with local, state and federal organizations to help achieve that goal.

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Wednesday marks one year since Volkswagen suprised many in the Tennessee Valley with an annoucement that it would build its American assembly plant in Chattanooga.

The company has issued an open letter to coincide with the anniversary.

Of all the interesting places we've taken you, none will be more exciting than the future. And we're glad to have the state of Tennessee as our partner in the journy. One year ago, we announced an ambitious plan to build our U.S. production facility in Chattanooga. We've come a long way since then.

So far, we've installed enough steel to make nearly 3,000 Volkswagen Beetles and enough roof decking to cover three soccer fields. Construction is more than halfway complete on our innovative paint shop facility, which will use groundbreaking technology to minimize waste and reduce carbon emissions by more than 20 percent.

Our commitment to a sustainable future means more than building environmentally friendly cars at an environmentally responsibl plant; it's also a commitment to the communities we call home. We're bringing more than 2,000 jobs and a $1 billion investment to Tennessee. We already feel like part of the community, and we're always looking for ways to fulfill our corporate responsibility.

To start, we've invested more than $5.28 million in Tennessee schools and charities. This past year certainly underscored the value of forward thinking and innovative ideas in a changing marketplace, and an important part of our mission is to encourage education and training.

We're proud to be putting down roots in this beautiful state and making new friends in this vibrant community. We believe that Tennesseans share our optimism about the future, and we look forward to traveling that road together.

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