Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft - Prof Dr Martin Winterkorn and the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood have officially opened the new Volkswagen Group plant in the United States in front of representatives from politics, business and the media. Over 2000 employees will be producing up to 150,000 vehicles per year in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The German Ambassador to the United States, Bill Haslam, Governor of the U.S. State of Tennessee, Jonathan Browning, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, as well as U.S. senators Robert Corker and Lamar Alexander also attended the ceremony. Winterkorn 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."
The 5.6 km² site will include a body shop, paint shop, assembly facility, technical testing centre, academy for the initial and advanced training of employees, and a supplier park with eight companies. 10,000 additional jobs will be created in the U.S. component supply industry.
The development of the facility has seen Volkswagen investing around one billion US dollars and it will be amongst the world's most advanced and environmentally compatible automobile plants. The new plant meets with the highest requirements of the U.S. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard, which requires strict provisions for the sustainable, environmentally compatible construction of buildings to be met.
A key measure undertaken at the plant will be to use a painting process without any filler, which can reduce CO2 emissions by around 20 per cent. Volkswagen has also created the first automobile paint shop which uses a waterless separation process for the topcoat application. The Chattanooga plant will utilise collected rainwater to reduce water consumption, The plant will also rely on LED systems for outdoor lighting, with production buildings and offices will use motion controlled energy saving lamps.
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