Three years from now, you're next Volkswagen might not be made in Europe, nor Mexico or South America. Believe it or not, your VW could be domestic!This week, Volkswagen announced they are setting out to build a plant in Chattanooga, TN, where vehicle production will start in early 2011. The supervisory board of Volkswagen AG approved the plans and an investment of $1 billion.
The first stage of construction is designed to provide the complete production of 150k automobiles a year, including body-production, paint-shop and assembly operations. A modular production system at the plant will enable flexibility for various types of cars. The first vehicle to be manufactured will be a midsize sedan tailored specifically to the US market, most likely the Jetta or Passat. VW will employ a staff of 2k at the site, while additional jobs will be created in different sectors.VW claims the plant will help lighten exchange-rate fluctuations. VW also hopes US customers will perceive the company as a domestic manufacturer which will hopefully boost sales.
VW originally listed 25 potential sites for its US plant. The management board chose Chattanooga because it slightly outperforms the other candidate sites in terms of providing an existing infrastructure of suppliers and having a qualified workforce. There's also the availability of around 55000 acres of developed property with direct transport connections. Keep in mind, Chattanooga is only a two-hour drive from Nashville, TN and Atlanta, GA.
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