Volkswagen of America has started the $800-million expansion of its Chattanooga, Tenn., assembly plant in advance of the starting electric vehicle production there, in 2022. The automaker plans to build 22 million electric vehicles across all of its platforms worldwide over the next decade, and also is investing heavily to increase battery cell production to power its new vehicle designs.
VW established the Chattanooga plant in 2011 and presently currently builds its Atlas mid-sized SUV and Passat sedans there. The plant will be VW's North American hub for EV manufacturing, and the includes a 564,000-sq. ft addition to the current body shop. VW also plans a 198,000–sq. ft. battery-pack assembly operation.
Chattanooga will build both internal combustion engine vehicles as well as battery electric vehicles on the same assembly line.
“This is a big, big moment for this company,” stated Volkswagen Group of America president and CEO Scott Keogh. “Expanding local production sets the foundation for our sustainable growth in the U.S. Electric vehicles are the future of mobility and Volkswagen will build them for millions, not just millionaires."
Volkswagen began assembling its ID. CROZZ long-range electric SUV earlier this month at Zwickau, Germany, which will be introduced commercially next year. That same vehicle will be assembled at Chattanooga in 2022.
VW plans to expand EV assembly programs to other locations through the next three years, including Anting and Foshan, China, assembly plants in 2020, and the Emden and Hanover, Germany, plants by 2022.
The production version of the ID. CROZZ will be assembled in Zwickau. Production of that vehicle is set to begin in Chattanooga in 2022.
The automaker indicated the expanded plant will establish about 1,000 new jobs, with hiring to begin in early 2020 and continuing as needed as production begins. Positions to be added include supervisors, specialists, and various engineers for electrical, software, mechanical, manufacturing, chemical, and quality activities.