October 6, 2020

Volkswagen Chattanooga supplier park marks 10 years, readies for electric SUV

Volkswagen Chattanooga supplier park marks 10 years, readies for electric SUV


This story was updated on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at 10:22 p.m. with additional information.

Volkswagen Chattanooga is marking 10 years since the automaker opened a supplier park, noting the complex and nearby parts makers employ 1,100 workers as they ready for an electric SUV.

“The supplier park and our suppliers play a key role in helping to keep Volkswagen Chattanooga growing,” said Marty Ross, senior manager of North American purchasing for Volkswagen of America, in a statement. “We’re proud to work together with them, and with the addition of the Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV in 2022 to Chattanooga, we know that more opportunities lie ahead.”

A decade ago with a $21 million investment, the 446,400-square-foot supplier park next to the VW plant at Enterprise South industrial park became home to six companies supporting 500 jobs helping assemble the Passat sedan.

Now, as the factory has grown to building three vehicles and soon a fourth, so has the supplier park and other companies nearby providing parts to the plant, which itself employs 3,800 workers.

Seven businesses today work in the supplier park, assembling such parts as seats, axles and dashboards, while four more have built facilities nearby. The suppliers represent some $275 million in investments, according to VW.

INSIDE THE SUPPLIER PARK

* DRX

* Faurecia

* Grupo Antolin

* Kasai

* Schnellecke Logistics

* ThyssenKrupp

* TNM

Source: Volkswagen

The supplier park currently includes ThyssenKrupp, TNM, Kasai, Grupo Antolin, DRX, Faurecia and Schnellecke Logistics. Nearby suppliers include Gestamp, Yanfeng, Plastic Ominum and Wingard.

Meanwhile, another supplier appears to be coming. Chattanooga and Hamilton County are proposing to sell two Enterprise South tracts near the VW plant to a private developer to attract an auto supplier and up to 300 new jobs.

Developer Jeff Londis of Chattanooga Industrial LLC last month wouldn’t immediately name the auto supplier, but he said work could start at the site later this year.

“Our hope is to move expeditiously,” he said.

The German automaker is investing $800 million in the assembly plant to ready for production of the electric SUV by 2022. Just last month, Volkswagen unveiled the vehicle that it called “the most important launch for VW since the Beetle,” and the head of its U.S. arm recalled test driving the ID.4 up Signal Mountain.

“I took it up and down Signal Mountain,” said Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “For centuries, the mountain was the best place to send a message. We want to accentuate a revolution. It’s our sign from America to the world that times aren’t just a-changing, they’ve changed.”

He said that the VW brand’s first long-range electric vehicle will be sold in all 50 states. While the vehicle will be imported from Germany for the first 18 months, local production is expected to begin by fall 2022, Keogh said.

The supplier park currently includes ThyssenKrupp, TNM, Kasai, Grupo Antolin, DRX, Faurecia and Schnellecke Logistics. Nearby suppliers include Gestamp, Yanfeng, Plastic Ominum and Wingard.

Meanwhile, another supplier appears to be coming. Chattanooga and Hamilton County are proposing to sell two Enterprise South tracts near the VW plant to a private developer to attract an auto supplier and up to 300 new jobs.

Developer Jeff Londis of Chattanooga Industrial LLC last month wouldn’t immediately name the auto supplier, but he said work could start at the site later this year.

“Our hope is to move expeditiously,” he said.

The German automaker is investing $800 million in the assembly plant to ready for production of the electric SUV by 2022. Just last month, Volkswagen unveiled the vehicle that it called “the most important launch for VW since the Beetle,” and the head of its U.S. arm recalled test driving the ID.4 up Signal Mountain.

“I took it up and down Signal Mountain,” said Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “For centuries, the mountain was the best place to send a message. We want to accentuate a revolution. It’s our sign from America to the world that times aren’t just a-changing, they’ve changed.”

He said the VW brand’s first long-range electric vehicle will be sold in all 50 states. While the vehicle will be imported from Germany for the first 18 months, local production is expected to begin by fall 2022, Keogh said.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.



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