Volkswagen has achieved a production milestone at its Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant with the completion of its one-millionth vehicle, an Aurora Red Metallic 2020 Volkswagen Passat R-Line. The plant has been producing Passat vehicles since 2011. Ground was broken in 2009 for what was to become the world’s first LEED-Platinum certified manufacturing facility.
Since then, Volkswagen Chattanooga has grown to employ approximately 3,800 people, produced more than 700,000 Passat vehicles, 100,000 Atlas vehicles, and recently started production of the 2020 Atlas Cross Sport and the facelifted 2021 Atlas. In that time, Chattanooga-assembled vehicles have been exported to Canada, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, and the Middle East.
Volkswagen Chattanooga will also be Volkswagen’s North American base for manufacturing electric vehicles, representing an approximately $800 million investment, starting in 2022. The expansion to enable U.S. production of long-range EVs began in November 2019.
The Passat marked Volkswagen’s return to assembling vehicles in America, after the Westmoreland facility in Pennsylvania closed in 1987. The 2012 Passat was specifically designed for the North American market as larger than the European vehicle, with interior and trunk space that North American buyers expect from a mid-size sedan.
Nine years later, the 2020 Passat offers more than its predecessor of what BW says “matters—bolder design, upgraded technology, and enhanced access to convenience and driver-assistance features.”
The 2020 Passat is available in four trim levels, with a starting price of $22,995 for the Passat S. A 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI four-cylinder engine that makes 174 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission on all models. Standard features include 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, full LED lighting, App-Connect, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist), Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert.
VW Chattanooga Milestones
- July 15, 2008 Announcement of Chattanooga Factory
- Feb 3, 2009 Start of Construction
- June 4, 2010 Opening of Volkswagen Academy
- Aug 23, 2010 1,000th employee hired
- Sep 30, 2010 Opening of Supplier Park
- April 18, 2011 First Customer Passat rolled off assembly line
- May 24, 2011 Grand Opening of Volkswagen Chattanooga plant
- July 29, 2011 2,000th employee hired
- Dec 1, 2011 LEED Platinum certification of Plant and Academy
- May 31, 2012 100,000th Passat produced
- Jan 23, 2013 Power-up of Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park
- May 23, 2013 250,000th Passat produced
- Aug 13, 2013 Volkswagen Academy Inaugural Graduation Ceremony
- July 14, 2014 Midsize SUV Announcement
- Jan1, 2015 Midsize SUV Expansion Commences
- July 22, 2015 500,000th Passat assembled
- Dec 14, 2016 Midsize SUV Start of Production
- May 18, 2017 First Customer Atlas Delivered
- Mar 19, 2018 Five-Passenger SUV announcement
- May 7, 2018 700,000th Passat assembled
- Oct 5, 2018 100,000th Atlas assembled
- Jan 14, 2019 MEB production and expansion announcement
- Oct 11, 2019 Atlas Cross Sport unveiled
- Nov 13, 2019 Construction for electric vehicle manufacturing