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Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant
Company typeSubsidiary
Founded24 May 2011; 12 years ago (2011-05-24)
HeadquartersChattanooga, Tennessee
OwnerVolkswagen AG
Number of employees

The Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant (or Chattanooga Operations LLC) is an American automobile assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The plant was formally announced in July 2008 and was formally inaugurated in May 2011.[2][3]

Production began in April 2011 with the model year 2012 Passat B7 (initially called the Passat NMS (New Midsize Sedan)), tailored to the US market,[4] with a projected annual production of 150,000 cars. Passat production ended in December, 2021.[5]

Production of the Volkswagen Atlas commenced in 2017.[6][7] Production of the electric Volkswagen ID.4 commenced July 26, 2022.[8]

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/2
    2 718
  • Volkswagen Chattanooga employees celebrate the Passat
  • Volkswagen Apprenticeship | Manufacturing in Chattanooga, Tennessee



The local plant, building a localized product, allows Volkswagen to avoid exchange rate fluctuations, monitor US automotive market trends,[9] and potentially reduce vulnerability to extended supply chain issues.[10] At its outset, Chattanooga Assembly manufactured 85% of the Passat's content,[11] and about 85% of the content of the North American Passat comes from North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries.[10][12] The company initially had plans for an expansion that would increase capacity to 592,000 vehicles a year.[13] Labor costs at the Tennessee plant, including wages and benefits, have been estimated to average $27 an hour, below those of Ford, GM, Chrysler, and some foreign automakers.[14][dead link] As of late 2012, cars manufactured at the Chattanooga Assembly Plant have been exported to Mexico, Canada, South Korea, and the Middle East. The Chattanooga plant opened 23 years after the closing of the Westmoreland Assembly Plant near New Stanton, Pennsylvania, in 1988.[11] The Westmoreland plant, which began operation in 1978, had been characterized by labor unrest and suffered from poor networking between Westmoreland and Volkswagen headquarters in then-West Germany.


The Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant in Tennessee

The entire facility includes approximately 45 acres (180,000 m2),[15] and is constructed on a 1,400 acres (6 km2) parcel of the 6,000-acre (24 km2)[16] Enterprise South Industrial Park in eastern Chattanooga.[17]

The industrial park comprises land that was once an ammunition plant[18][19] known as the Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant (VAAP),[17] which manufactured up to 30,000,000 pounds (14,000 t) of TNT (trinitrotoluene) per month during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.[20] The Volkswagen facility is near a remaining storage area containing storage bunkers once used to store TNT.[16] The site features nearby hiking, biking and walking trails, picnic areas, and overlooks, known as the Enterprise South Nature Park.[16]



The Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant includes a body shop, paint shop, assembly facility, a Market Delivery Options (MDO) building,[22] technical testing center, employee training facility with classrooms, an apprentice-training school and a full-size practice paint booth, a supplier park for eight companies,[4] and a 32,000-square-foot (3,000 m2) healthcare center with a gym, childcare facilities, and medical services.[23]

The plant has the flexibility to build any of the company's front-engine/front-wheel-drive vehicles in A, B, or C-segments. The rolling-dip paint shop is sized to handle a wide range of vehicle sizes. The plant is not designed to manufacture large vehicles.> The factory includes 383 robots in the body shop, which is approximately 77 percent automated. There are 4,730 weld spots and 292 welding guns. Output is about 31 cars per hour. The plant is organized with its major process areas – body shop, main assembly, and paint shop – in a stacked configuration with major checkpoints arranged in a concentric-circle layout – to eliminate long walks between factory areas, to investigate a problem, for example. The body assembly line uses diode lasers.[24]

VW announced it would seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for the complex. In November 2011, VW announced that the 2012 model of the Passat was named the 2012 Motor Trend Car of the Year.[25] In December 2011, the Assembly Plant became the first auto plant in the world to get the LEED platinum certification.[26] A 9.5 megawatt solar park supplies 13 GWh of electricity per year; 12% of plant consumption.[24][27]

The Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant was designed by the Nashville engineering and architecture firm SSOE, the firm Environmental Resources Management (ERM) for the environmental permitting process, and Alberici Constructors, Inc. for the construction management of the facility.[28] The Port of Savannah, Georgia's Garden City Terminal handles imported auto parts in containers for the plant.[29]

Cost and incentives

Volkswagen invested approximately one billion U.S. dollars to construct the facility, with local, state, and federal governments subsidizing the project with an estimated $577 million in incentives.[19] Alabama had offered Volkswagen incentives of $385 million, the most the state had ever offered for an auto project. Mississippi offered incentives totaling $294 million to Toyota in 2007 for an assembly plant at Blue Springs. Kia received about $324 million in incentives from Georgia.[30] Volkswagen had researched 398 possible sites before narrowing the choice to the states of Michigan, Alabama, and Tennessee.

Work council and labor unions

The Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant has attracted international attention after it was proposed that employees elect a union, in order to implement a work council that has co-determination, consultation and participation rights with management.[31][32]

The United Auto Workers attempted unsuccessfully to unionize the Chattanooga plant in 2014. This was defeated in a 712-626 vote. It was backed by Volkswagen and the IG Metall union in Germany to negotiate with management on day-to-day working matters at the plant. There was, however, considerable opposition from US business groups and Republican politicians.[33][34][35]

The UAW again attempted to unionize the plant in June 2019. This failed by a 52 to 48 percent margin.[36] Unlike in 2014, Volkswagen management was not supportive of the union vote.[31]

On 6 February 2024, the UAW announced that over 50% of the 4,100 hourly workers at the plant have signed union membership cards.[37] The VW union drive is happening shortly after UAW's successful strikes in 2023 at the "Big Three" automobile manufacturers Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.[38] On 19 April, the plant's workers voted to unionize. In the historic election, the hourly workers voted 2628 in favor of the union (73%) and 985 against the union (27%).[39]

Overview timeline

  • 1988: Volkswagen closes its Westmoreland Assembly Plant[11]
  • 2006: Construction completed for the Interstate 75 interchange near Ooltewah, Tennessee.[18]
  • July 2008: Volkswagen announces its intention to build the Chattanooga Assembly Plant.[13]
  • Fall 2008: Preliminary construction begins.[18]
  • January 2009: January groundbreaking rescheduled indefinitely.[citation needed]
  • May 2009: Ceremonial "Wall-Raising" (vs. groundbreaking).[15][40]
  • October 2010: CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway announced they would again serve the site following the completion of a $6.6 million project to provide dual rail service to the Volkswagen Assembly Plant.[41] The newly completed yard was dedicated on April 6, 2011. Work included "the biggest rail overhaul in and around the Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant since the tracks were laid during World War II."[42]
  • April 18, 2011: First Passat rolls off the assembly line.[43]
  • April 2011: Completion of the site's $7.5 million 850-foot span steel-and-glass pedestrian bridge and guardhouse.[22]
  • May 24, 2011: The plant was inaugurated on May 24, 2011, by Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group and the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood[4] with Klaus Scharioth, German Ambassador to the United States, Bill Haslam, Governor of Tennessee, Jonathan Browning, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, as well as U.S. Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander in attendance. The actor Max Page, who played a small version of Darth Vader in a 2011 Volkswagen television commercial, also attended in costume.[44][45]
  • September 8, 2011: The plant manufactured its 10,000th car, a white Passat TDI. The number included pre-series cars, technical training cars, dealer experience cars as well as customer cars.
  • November 2011: The Passat is named the 2012 Motor Trend Car of the Year.[46]
  • December 2011: The plant became the first auto plant in the world to receive an LEED platinum certification.[47]
  • February 7, 2012: The plant manufactured its 50,000th Passat.[48]
  • May 2012: The plant manufactured its 100,000th Passat.[49]
  • May 24, 2013: The plant manufactured its 250,000th Passat.[50]
  • December 14, 2016: The plant starts series production of the Volkswagen Atlas.[51]
  • January 14, 2019: VW announces at the Detroit Auto Show that the plant will begin building the ID. Crozz crossover and the ID. Buzz van, a reimagining of the iconic van of the 1960s and 70s, in 2022.[52]
  • July 26, 2022: Production of the Volkswagen ID.4 commenced.[8]
  • April 19, 2024: Volkswagen hourly workers overwhelmingly vote in favor of UAW representation to become the first unionized trans-national automotive plant in the South. The workers voted 2628 (73%) for the union, and 985 against (27%).


  1. ^ "Chattanooga Facts". Volkswagen Group of America. Retrieved August 1, 2023.
  2. ^ Pare, Mike (March 31, 2010). "Sen. Alexander calls VW, Chattanooga an 'ideal marriage'". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  3. ^ Pare, Mike (September 11, 2009). "Kisber says VW plant will pay off". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
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  5. ^ Marco Carvajal (2022). "Test Driving the Last Passat: 2022 R-Line".
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  11. ^ a b c "Volkswagen's Chattanooga Plant Open For Business". The Truth About Cars, Bertel Schmitt, May 25, 2011.
  12. ^ Ludwig, Christopher (May 24, 2016). "Supply Chain Conference: Mexican and intermodal shockwaves". Automotive Logistics. Retrieved May 13, 2017. Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga, for example, currently receives 87% of transport material from the US and Canada, with 6% from Mexico and 7% from overseas.
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  20. ^ "Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant". Global Security.
  21. ^ "VW to begin ID.4 production in the USA early". June 9, 2022.
  22. ^ a b Pare, Mike (March 1, 2011). "Completion of bridge to mark Volkswagen milestone in Chattanooga". Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  23. ^ "Unique approach to groundbreaking on Volkswagen Drive"., September 10, 2010.
  24. ^ a b Secrets of the Superfactories (TV documentary, 2019)
  25. ^ "Volkswagen Passat Named Motor Trend 2012 Car of the Year". Motor Trend. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  26. ^ "Volkswagen Chattanooga Factory Earns LEED Platinum Certification". December 2011. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  27. ^ Hickman, Lizzie (August 1, 2019). "Business Trend: Chattanooga goes solar". Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  28. ^ "Volkswagen Selects Engineering & Architecture Firm for Chattanooga Facility". The Dallas News, Associated Press, May 24, 2011, Kristin M. Hall.
  29. ^ "Volkswagen Chattanooga Selects Port of Savannah". Best Shipping News.
  30. ^ "VW Came for the Incentives – And Response". Chicago Tribune August 29, 2008 via, Jan 27, 2009. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013.
  31. ^ a b Scheiber, Noam (June 15, 2019). "Volkswagen Factory Workers in Tennessee Reject Union". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  32. ^ Slaughter, Jane (February 14, 2014). "Volkswagen Workers Vote on Union, Works Council Scheme". Truthout. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  33. ^ Barrett, Paul M (February 17, 2014). "UAW's Devastating Defeat in Tennessee: Four Blunt Points". Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  34. ^ Bachman, Justin (February 18, 2014). "How Volkswagen's Tennessee Plant Could End Up Organized Without the UAW". Archived from the original on February 18, 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  35. ^ Boudette, Neal E. (February 15, 2014). "Union Suffers Big Loss at Tennessee VW Plant". Wall Street Journal – via
  36. ^ Allyn, Bobby (June 15, 2019). "Tennessee Workers Reject Union At Volkswagen Plant — Again". NPR. Washington, D.C. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  37. ^ Hall, Kalea (February 6, 2024). "UAW has signed majority of VW workers at Tennessee plant to join union". The Detroit News. Retrieved February 6, 2024.
  38. ^ Sainato, Michael (January 11, 2024). "'We don't have a say': workers join push to unionize flagship Volkswagen plant". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved February 6, 2024.
  39. ^ Whalen, Jeanne; Gurley, Lauren (April 19, 2024). "Volkswagen workers in Tennessee pass historic vote to unionize". Retrieved April 19, 2024.
  40. ^ Pare, Mike (May 17, 2009). "Chattanooga: Passing lane in progress". Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  41. ^ $6.6 Million Project Set To Complete Dual Rail Service For Volkswagen Archived October 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., October 14, 2010. Retrieved November 22, 2015
  42. ^ "VW dedicates rail yard". April 7, 2011.
  43. ^ Marcum, Ed (May 25, 2011). "Chattanooga Volkswagen plant up and running, making fuel-efficient Passat model". Knoxville News Sentinel.
  44. ^ "Tiny Darth Vader brings The Force to VW's Chattanooga plant"., Jonathon Ramesey, May 25, 2011.
  45. ^ Woodyard, Chris (May 24, 2011). "Pint-sized Darth Vader blesses Volkswagen's U.S. factory". USA Today. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  46. ^ "Volkswagen Passat Named Motor Trend 2012 Car of the Year". Motor Trend. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  47. ^ "Volkswagen Chattanooga Factory Earns LEED Platinum Certification". December 1, 2011. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  48. ^ "Volkswagen Chattanooga Builds 100,000th Car". WTVC NewsChannel 9. May 2012. Archived from the original on December 16, 2012.
  49. ^ "Volkswagen Chattanooga Builds 100,000th Car". Volkswagen. May 5, 2012. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012.
  50. ^ Mihalascu, Dan (May 25, 2013). "VW Celebrates Production of 250,000th Passat at Chattanooga Plant". Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  51. ^ "VOLKSWAGEN CHATTANOOGA STARTS SERIES PRODUCTION OF THE 2018 VOLKSWAGEN ATLAS. Media Site of the Volkswagen of America, Inc". Archived from the original on December 17, 2016.
  52. ^ Ohnsman, Alan (January 14, 2019). "More Buzz for Dixie: Volkswagen investing $800 million for electric SUV assembly in Tennessee". Forbes. Retrieved August 22, 2019.

External links

35°4′49.03″N 85°08′08″W / 35.0802861°N 85.13556°W / 35.0802861; -85.13556

This page was last edited on 10 May 2024, at 23:06
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