Volkswagen AG will invest $800 million to open its first electric vehicle manufacturing facility in North America in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The company plans to create 1,000 jobs in Hamilton County.
Chattanooga will be the first manufacturing facility in North America that will produce vehicles using Volkswagen’s modular electric toolkit chassis, or MEB. The first Volkswagen electric vehicle will roll out in 2022.
The first Volkswagen electric vehicle Volkswagen’s Chattanooga facility is more than 3 million square feet and situated on 1,400 acres. In 2011, the Chattanooga plant became the first and only automobile manufacturing facility in the world to be certified LEED Platinum. The Volkswagen midsize Atlas SUV and Passat sedan are currently built in Chattanooga. More than 100,000 Atlas SUVs and 700,000 Passats have been manufactured at the plant.
“The U.S. is one of the most important locations for us, and producing electric cars in Chattanooga is a key part of our growth strategy in North America,” said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG. "The management team, led by Scott Keogh, is committed to continuing to increase our market share in the coming years. Together with our ongoing investments and this increase in local production, we are strengthening the foundation for sustainable growth of the Volkswagen brand in the U.S."
In addition to Chattanooga, Volkswagen is building the first dedicated EV production facility in Zwickau, Germany, starting MEB production by the end of 2019. Volkswagen will also add EV production at facilities in Anting and Foshan, in China, in 2020, and in the German cities of Emden and Hanover by 2022. The VW brand has forecasted selling 150,000 EVs by 2020 worldwide, increasing that number to 1 million by 2025.
“The shift toward electric vehicles is a trend that can be seen worldwide, and Volkswagen’s decision to locate its first North American EV manufacturing facility in Chattanooga underscores Tennessee’s manufacturing strength and highly-skilled workforce,” Governor Bill Haslam said. “As one of Hamilton County’s top employers, these additional 1,000 jobs will have a lasting impact on the region. I thank Volkswagen for its partnership and also applaud the company for its ongoing commitment to education and workforce alignment, which helps Tennessee build a pipeline of talent for years to come.”
“Today’s announcement is a tremendous win for Tennessee as it shows that our state continues to be a prime location for foreign direct investment,” Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe said. “With a current workforce of 3,500, nearly 20 percent of Tennesseans employed by German companies are employed by Volkswagen. We appreciate Volkswagen for its continued confidence in our state and for the addition of 1,000 jobs in Hamilton County.”
In March 2018, Volkswagen announced an additional investment of $340 million in Chattanooga to build the five-seat version of the Atlas, the Atlas Cross Sport, which will begin production later this year. The Atlas Cross Sport announcement brought Volkswagen’s total investment at that time to $2.3 billion.