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Volkswagen investing $800 million, adding 1,000 jobs at Tennessee plant

Volkswagen is expanding its operations in Tennessee.

Rendering courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen is spending $800 million to expand its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant as the company readies for large-scale battery-powered electric vehicle (BEV) production. The plan calls for the addition of 1,000 jobs and 564,000 square feet of space.

"This is a big, big moment for this company," said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. "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."

The Chattanooga plant will be Volkwagen's U.S. base for BEV production. The company rolled out long-range EV production earlier this month at its Zwickau, Germany plant. The production version of the ID CROZZ will initially be assembled in Germany but production will move to Chattanooga in 2022 when the expansion opens.

That doesn't meant that the entire plant is converting to BEV production. Volkswagen will continue to built both internal combustion engine vehicles as well as BEVs on the same assembly line.

VW currently builds its midsize Atlas SUV and Passat sedan in Chattanooga. The forthcoming Atlas Cross Sport, sporting the redesigned "R" logo, will also be assembled there.

Previously, Volkswagen has announced plans to build a 198,000-square-foot battery pack assembly plant at the Chattanooga site.

"With Volkswagen's expansion, Tennessee is on the cutting edge of the move to electric vehicles and our workforce is up to the challenge." Tennessee Gov. Lee said. "We look forward to a continued partnership with VW and the growth of advanced manufacturing in Chattanooga and beyond."

Ambassador Haber added, "The United States plays an absolutely central role in German carmakers' global activities. German carmakers like Volkswagen have already invested here, in Tennessee and in the U.S. as whole, creating jobs and training young employees. I wish Volkswagen of America and this new facility for electric vehicles all the best and a lot of success."

Tom du Plessis, Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO, said the expansion signals the start of new, high-tech processes in the plant. Hiring for the new assembly will begin in early 2020 and will continue as production ramps up. Positions added for the expansion include supervisors, specialists and a variety of engineers specializing in electrical, software, mechanical, manufacturing, chemical and quality control.

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Discontinued sedan

Volkswagen nixing Passat after 2022 model year

Racing Green Metallic is one of four exclusive colors for the car.

Volkswagen

After five decades on sale in the U.S., Volkswagen is pulling the plug on the midsize Passat. The explosion of SUVs' popularity and the need to shift production power to electric vehicles are behind the decision, which will take place after the 2022 model year. The cars have been built at the automaker's Chattanooga, TN plant since 2011, but the facility is being repurposed as VW's North American hub for electric vehicle assembly.

Volkswagen is giving the car one last hurrah, however, in the form of the Passat Limited Edition. The car features 18-inch wheels, LED headlights with an Advanced Front Lighting System, and an easy-open trunk. Inside, the cars come with sport seats wrapped in Vienna leather, memory seating, a Fender Premium Audio System, parking assistance, and parking sensors.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition Each car gets a special model tag with its limited production number.Volkswagen


Only 1,973 of the cars will be built, and it will only be sold in four colors, each with its own limited production numbers that have special meaning for the Passat:

  • Aurora Red Metallic with Titan Black interior: 411 units to represent the original vehicle production code
  • Racing Green Metallic with Mauro Brown interior: 423 units to commemorate the Chattanooga 423 area code
  • Pure white with Mauro Brown interior: 524 units to signify the Chattanooga plant's May 24 opening date
  • Platinum Great Metallic with Titan Black interior: 615 units to signify six generations of imported Passats, one generation assembled in Chattanooga, and five decades of U.S. sales

Pricing for the 2022 Passat starts at $31,290, which includes a $995 destination fee. Adding Aurora Red Metallic drives the price up by an additional $395. Each car will receive a special number plate to designate its place in the limited production run.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition The Passat Limited Edition gets several upscale features. Volkswagen

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Electric vehicle features

The VW ID.4 sounds futuristic

The ID.4 is VW's first electric crossover in the U.S.

VW

The Volkswagen ID.4 is finally here. The electric crossover offers compelling features, decent all-electric range, and a reasonable price. On top of all that, Volkswagen focused heavily on the electric experience with the ID.4, down to the sounds it makes in everyday operation.

Where many automakers seek to humanize electric vehicles with familiar gas engine sounds, Volkswagen hasn't bothered with any of that. Instead, the automaker's ID.4 electric crossover features several sounds that embrace the EV's place in the future of transportation.

On startup, drivers are greeted with a sound that Volkswagen says will alert them that the vehicle is ready to go. It's not at all unlike the flying saucer sounds heard in sci-fi movies decades ago, but it's a nice reminder of the ID.4's future-forward drivetrain.



In motion, VW gave the ID.4 what is known as an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System, which helps alert people to the presence of a moving electric vehicle. Since the drivetrain doesn't make the same noises that a gas engine does, EVs can move almost silently at low speeds, so it's important to have some kind of warning sound.

Even the turn signal sounds received scrutiny in the ID.4's design, and while they're still fairly traditional, the sounds are subtle and pleasing overall. Beyond that, VW says it developed a library of sounds for typical vehicle control buttons and other functions that are exclusive to its electric vehicles. The goal, according to the automaker, is that the sound aligns with the vehicles' character, visual design, and features, and that people will be able to recognize a VW EV by its unique sound.

The ID.4 is just the first of several EVs that Volkswagen plans to release here in the United States. Larger family vehicles are on the horizon, and we may even see an electric revival of the legendary VW bus.

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