UPDATE: Volkswagen Chattanooga SUV celebration continues - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Volkswagen Chattanooga SUV celebration continues

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - UPDATE: We’re learning more about how state and Volkswagen officials came to their decision to expand the Chattanooga facility.

In fact, hundreds of more jobs are coming to the area then they initially thought.

Applause and cheers greeted state, local and Volkswagen leaders Tuesday as they arrived at Hunter Museum.

Governor Bill Haslam revealed the final number of jobs coming to the Chattanooga facility is actually 650 more than what they were anticipating when talks originally began.

“Then as they started talked about their business growing, we said why not sooner rather than later?” Haslam said.

The Research and Development Center will bring in 200 engineers and will set Chattanooga apart from any other auto manufacturing city in the region.

“There’s not another research and development facility in the South. We’ve become known for manufacturing cars, it’s great that they’re letting us be part of the research and development phase as well,” he added.

Governor Haslam says the region will now be able to attract suppliers that leaders haven’t been able to attract before.

“Having enough automotive jobs to where you attract all the other automotive suppliers and I think that’s now a reality for Chattanooga and all the areas around that,” he added.

Other leaders like Senator Bob Corker touted the work from current Volkswagen employees and even got emotional as he thanks VW officials for bringing this expansion to his hometown.

“At the end of the day, when you understand the impact this is going to have on 2,000 families, it’s what all of us do on a daily basis for. It creates some emotion,” Corker said.

Volkswagen leaders also mentioned a number of times Tuesday the company is excited to take this next step and they have bigger plans for the American market.
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PREVIOUS STORY: After the hubbub over Monday’s announcement of Volkswagen’s decision to build the new mid-size SUV in Chattanooga, local and state officials will celebrate the news with a decidedly local flavor Tuesday afternoon.

The event, scheduled for 4:00pm at the Hunter Museum of American Art, will mark the sixth anniversary of the announcement that Volkswagen had selected Chattanooga for the site of their new North American facility.

Today’s celebration will be one of expansion, as the German automaker marks their investment of $600 million in Tennessee for an additional assembly line to manufacture the CrossBlue SUV, and the addition of a new R&D facility and planning center at VW Chattanooga.

Overall, the news from Germany means the addition of new 2,000 jobs at Volkswagen, and possibly 3,600 new jobs at VW suppliers.

Part of the deal reached with the state of Tennessee and Volkswagen Chattanooga is that VW will pay all local school taxes associated with the new investment, adding about $1.4 million each year in new school funding in Hamilton County.

Expected to be on hand today at the event are Michael Horn, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.
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