Volkswagen Chattanooga marks the 10th anniversary of first vehicle assembled

The milestone moment was attended by over 1,700 employees of the Chattanooga plant.

Volkswagen is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first customer vehicle to roll off the assembly line at its Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant. On April 18, 2011, 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.

“Our Chattanooga family began with the birth of our Passat,” said Dean Parker, head of manufacturing at Volkswagen Chattanooga. “We all cheered as the first one drove off the line because we knew it was only the beginning. 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 one 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.”

The start of operations at the Plant capped two years of work to transform an industrial brownfield site outside Chattanooga into the world’s first LEED-Platinum certified automotive manufacturing facility. Since then, Volkswagen Chattanooga has grown to employ about 3,800 people directly and assembled more than 1 million vehicles, while supporting thousands of other jobs in the region. More than 900 workers who helped assemble the Passat and were working at the plant when the first Passat left the line are still working there a decade later.

Joey Gilliland from the Quality Assurance team drove the first vehicle down the assembly line, and he was accompanied by Sha’rone Jones from Paint Shop, Jessica Davis from Assembly Shop, Carlton Lowe from Body Shop, and Lisa Knight representing support areas.

The Chattanooga plant remains among the most environmentally friendly automotive sites in the United States, with a rainwater-recycling system and a 33-acre solar park on site that provides a significant portion of the plant’s power needs. Since the first Passat rolled off the assembly line, Chattanooga-assembled vehicles have been exported to Canada, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, and the Middle East.

The Chattanooga plant currently assembles the Volkswagen Atlas, Atlas Cross Sport and Passat, and it will also be Volkswagen’s North American base for assembling electric vehicles starting in 2022 with the ID.4 electric SUV.

VW Chattanooga Key Milestones

July 15, 2008                       Announcement of Chattanooga Factory

February 3, 2009                 Start of Construction

June 4, 2010                        Opening of Volkswagen Academy

August 23, 2010                  1,000th employee hired

September 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

December 1, 2011               LEED Platinum certification of Plant and Academy

May 31, 2012                       100,000th Passat produced

January 23, 2013                 Power-up of Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park

May 23, 2013                       250,000th Passat produced

August 13, 2013                  Volkswagen Academy Inaugural Graduation Ceremony

July 14, 2014                       Midsize SUV Announcement

January 1, 2015                   Midsize SUV Expansion Commences

July 22, 2015                       500,000th Passat assembled

December 14, 2016            Midsize SUV Start of Production

May 18, 2017                       First Customer Atlas Delivered

March 19, 2018                    Five passenger SUV announcement

May 7, 2018                          700,000th Passat assembled

October 5, 2018                   100,000th Atlas assembled

January 14, 2019                  MEB production and expansion announcement

October 11, 2019                  Atlas Cross Sport unveiled

November 13, 2019              Construction for electric vehicle manufacturing commences