Volkswagen Breaks Ground on an $800 Million Electric Vehicle Production Expansion

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Volkswagen of America today marked the official start of construction for its electric vehicle production facility at Enterprise South. Production is scheduled to begin in 2022.

Hiring for the new assembly line will begin in early 2020 and will continue as needed for ramping up production.
CEO Tom du Plessis tells us, VW could make as many as 200,000 electric vehicles a year in Chattanooga, depending on demand.

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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee joined Volkswagen Group of America executives , Germany’s ambassador to the U.S., plant leaders and production employees for this morning’s groundbreaking ceremony.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said, “Grateful to be here on this beautiful morning, in this great city, great county, to celebrate Volkswagen’s commitment to Tennessee to create a thousand new jobs, and to make Tennessee the ground zero for electric vehicles.”

Volkswagen began its long-range Electric Vehicle production earlier this month in Germany, and will soon roll out assembly worldwide, including in China, in 2020. The Chattanooga site will be VW’s North-American hub for EV manufacturing.

“It’s quite historic for us because it’s, I think it’s, it’s a great journey and it’s where the industry is going to electric mobility, by the fact that it’s the first American built electric car it’s phenomenal and it will also be a class leading car for the future,” said Tom du Plessis, CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga.

Volkswagen’s investment of about $800 million in the Chattanooga facility, will create an additional 1,000 jobs. VW already employs about 38 hundred people.

Gov. Lee says focusing on education, is key to providing the workforce needed to attract these type of investments in the state.

“I think one of the greatest things we can do is develop a workforce. And to change the way we do high school, across this state, which we’re working on – a greater investment in vocational/technical, and STEM education,” said Gov. Lee.

The production version of what Volkswagen is calling the ID. CROZZ will initially be assembled in Germany.
How much will they cost, when they roll off the assembly line in 2 years?

“It’s not announced yet, but I think it will be competitive to the other electric car suppliers. But it’s obviously a better car, because of Volkswagen,” said du Plessis.

Volkswagen currently builds the mid-size Atlas SUV, and the Passat sedan here in Chattanooga.
A five-seat version of the Atlas, called the Atlas Cross Sport, began production in October. It goes on sale early next year.

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Ashley is a lifetime Chattanooga area resident, and a 1987 graduate from UTC, with a BA in communications. While there, he was commissioned through the ROTC program, served simultaneously in the 1/181st field artillery Tn. Army National Guard, finished Airborne school, was a member of the Scabbard and Blade military honor society and ROTC Rangers, the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, played snare drum with the UTC Marching band, and played in a southern rock band called Southern Atmosphere, while working a full time job as a trainer at the Sports Barn. He also won the Southeastern United States teenage bodybuilding competition during this time. Ashley has been with News 12 Now for 21 years. Prior to working here he was a videographer, director, producer and editor at Falcon Cable TV in Dalton, Ga. for 6 years where he produced thousands of commercials and dozens of hour long features. He also worked as a freelancer and employee at another network affiliate in Chattanooga. He has operated a part time video production business from home for 25 years. He says his passion is telling stories that feature people who give of themselves to help others, and stories that inspire people to make positive changes in themselves and their communities. Ashley is ecstatically married to Debbie Henderson, and has two step sons, a daughter in law, a sister, and lots of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. His parents are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. Ashley and Debbie are active members of Brainerd Baptist Church. His interests include weight training and cycling with his wife, photography, poetry, playing drums, and checking off items from his extensive honey-do list. If you would like to reach Ashley, email him at ahenderson@wdef.com.