Volkswagen Plans Expansion, Tech Center in Chattanooga
Volkswagen is expanding its growing Chattanooga, TN, factory by even more than the original plans after winning the local government’s approval. The German automaker announced its intention last year to invest $900 million to add 538,000 square feet of floor space to the plant, which would add 2,000 new jobs. The company just went back to the city for permission to increase the expansion by a further 130,153 square feet for an even larger body shop.
The extra construction is estimated to cost around $18 million. VW spokesperson Catharina Mette described the decision as “a cost-saving option,” to Autoblog. “Taking this action now saves money while giving us flexibility as we integrate the MQB platform in the future,” she said. By the end of 2016, the Chattanooga plant will begin production of VW’s forthcoming crossover, which should look similar to the Cross Coupe GTE concept.
VW has further plans for the research, development, and planning center near the factory. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, some of the designers and engineers will start work at a temporary facility there next week. A permanent location will open in 2017 with a test track and space to perform crash evaluations. The engineering center is meant to speed up the rate of vehicle development to bring models to the North American market more quickly.”This will be the central entity in all the US, and hopefully all of North America,” Matthias Erb, who oversees the center, said to the newspaper.