Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant is marking its 10th anniversary of the first customer vehicle rolling off its assembly line. A Passat SEL in Night Blue Metallic equipped with a 2.5-liter engine, automatic transmission, leather interior and 18-inch wheels became the first customer vehicle to be assembled in Chattanooga back in April 2011.
“We all cheered as the first one drove off the line because we knew it was only the beginning,” said Dean Parker, head of manufacturing at Volkswagen Chattanooga. “The successful launch of the Passat was greatly due to the hard work and dedication of this Chattanooga team, and it opened the doors for future vehicles like our Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport. Today, more than 1 million vehicles later, and as we are preparing to launch Volkswagen’s first all-electric SUV, we take a moment to appreciate our success, as it all started with our Passat.”
Volkswagen first announced the Chattanooga factory in July 2008. The start of operations at the plant in 2011 capped two years of work to transform the industrial brownfield site into the world’s first LEED-Platinum certified automotive manufacturing facility. Since then, Volkswagen Chattanooga has grown to employ about 3,800 workers. More than 900 workers who helped assemble that first Passat are still working at the plant today.
The Chattanooga plant still remains among the most environmentally friendly automotive sites in the United States, with a rainwater-recycling system and a 33-acre solar park — powered up in January 2013 — on site powering a significant portion of the plant’s power needs.
The first customer Atlas was built and delivered at the plant in May 2017, and the Atlas Cross Sport was unveiled in October 2019.
Now, Volkswagen Chattanooga is preparing for electric vehicle manufacturing. Assembly of the ID.4 electric SUV is expected to begin in 2022.