Saturday May 28th, 2011 18:10 Volkswagen Inaugurates New American Plant


Earlier this week, Volkswagen inaugurated its new plant in the United States. The new Volkswagen Group plant, situated in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will see over 2,000 employees produce up to 150,000 vehicles each year, and is the first Volkswagen plant to be opened in the United States since a plant in Pennsylvania was closed in 1988. For now, only the Volkswagen Passat will be built at the Chattanooga plant, although the company has left open the possibility of other models being built there in the future.

At the inauguration, attended by a host of prominent characters from politics, business and media, Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, said: “The Volkswagen Group has finally arrived as a local manufacturer in the United States. We are proud to be part of this great automobile nation as a producer, an employer and as a friend and good neighbour to people in the region.”

Volkswagen is investing nearly $1 billion in the development of the Chattanooga facility. The German car manufacturer say that the facility will be one of the most advanced and environmentally friendly automobile plants in the world. The facility relies entirely on energy-saving LED systems for outdoor lighting, and through the use of collected rainwater, water consumption is also lower than at facilities of a similar size. By adopting a painting process that does not involve any filler, CO2 emissions are reduced by around 20%.

The building of the plant in Chattanooga is part of a long term plan by Volkswagen to boost both its market share and its sales in the United States. Volkswagen hopes to win a market share of six percent at the same time as pushing Group sales in the United States to more than a million vehicles per year by 2018.

By building a new version of the Passat that is tailored especially for the needs of American customers, Volkswagen hope to tempt more Americans away from cars such as the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. The new version of the Passat is both bigger and cheaper than the current model. With a starting price of around $20,000, the new Passat will cost customers around $7,000 less than the Passat that is currently on the market.

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