The Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations, LLC plant is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, some 214 km south east of the capital city of Nashville, and covers a total area of around 5,600,000 m2.
The Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga comprises all stations required within the complete production process for final vehicle assembly, including body manufacturing, the paintshop, assembly, a technical testing centre, a training academy for employee training and qualification and a supplier park featuring eight companies. The Passat model that has just been launched is manufactured at the US-based plant, which has the capacity to produce 150,000 vehicles each year.
Around 1700 people are currently employed directly by Volkswagen. In addition, it is expected that some 10,000 jobs will be created within the supplier trade and as a result of secondary effects on employment in the region.
Frank Fischer is the Chairman and CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations LLC.
Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations LLC was founded on 29 December 2008 following the decision by the Volkswagen AG Board of Management to establish a plant in North America at Chattanooga. The building work began as soon as 3 February 2009. By the start of 2010, the finished construction was declared weatherproof and the first batch of equipment was installed in February 2010. On 22 April 2010, the first five suppliers for the on-site supplier park were appointed, and 4 June 2010 saw the opening of the Volkswagen Training Academy. By 30 September 2010, the supplier park was officially put into operation by the first suppliers. On 5 April 2011, the plant was recommended for ISO 9001 certification, and a day later the product loading station was put into operation. Production of the first customer vehicles began on 15 April 2011.
Volkswagen runs a certified environment management system in Chattanooga (ISO 14001) to ensure that production at the plant is sustainable and conserves resources. Reducing emissions and waste are among the objectives of this system, as are decreasing energy and fresh water consumption during production. For instance, the 2010 painting process has already helped to cut CO2 emissions by around 20%. And the use of ultra-modern electric motors has helped to save approx. 3 million kilowatt hours of electricity. The highly efficient light tubes (T5 lighting system) in use at the plant also save 20% of the energy required by conventional lighting systems. Wastewater treatment, waste disposal and groundwater restoration processes are all performed in accordance with LEED guidelines, and there are designated areas for protecting wetlands and native vegetation on the plant premises.
The Volkswagen Group of America plant in Chattanooga is a smoke-free zone. The huge on-site health and fitness centre represents Volkswagen's efforts to support its employees in leading healthy lifestyles. Volkswagen Group of America also works in partnership with countless regional schools and universities in Tennessee. Over the past five years, Volkswagen Group of America has supported its partners with donations worth USD 5.28 million. What's more, Volkswagen Group of America provides financial support to local charities and also encourages its employees to volunteer for these organisations.
Investments and economic growth
Volkswagen AG invested more than USD 1 billion in the development of the Volkswagen Group of America plant in Chattanooga. Various regional and state agreements worth USD 686 million are also in place. The state of Tennessee is set to benefit from a USD 12-billion increase in income as a result of the Chattanooga plant, plus tax revenue totalling some USD 1.2 billion.
Think Blue.Factory success story
The construction of a new plant in Chattanooga (USA) presented the opportunity to adopt painting process 2010 for the very first time; a process that minimises use of resources and lessens damage to the environment to a considerable extent. As the filler paint is not applied in painting process 2010, there is no need for a painting booth or the associated drying oven. What's more, the paint mist is not washed out of the paint booth using water (wet washing-out process), but is instead extracted using air (dry washing-out process). The extracted paint mist is then mixed with ground chalk. In the wet washing-out process, the paint slurry that is formed must be coagulated (precipitated) using chemicals. The slurry is then separated from the system water by means of filter presses and dried so that it can ultimately be disposed of as hazardous waste. In contrast to this process, the procedure adopted at the Chattanooga plant involves a powder being formed, which is then used in the cement industry as an additive in the production of mudstone and hardened cement paste.
Painting process 2010 saved a total of 20,000 gallons (around 75,000 litres) of water from being used each day, and reduced energy consumption by around 20% compared with conventional paintshops. Initiatives with the aim of transferring and adopting the process in other Group paintshops are already underway.
Go to the