Volkswagen announced on Wednesday that it achieved a key production milestone at its Chattanooga assembly plant with the completion of its one-millionth vehicle, an Aurora Red Metallic 2020 Volkswagen Passat R-Line.
“It’s gratifying to me that our team is back to work and able to mark yet another key milestone since the opening of VW’s Chattanooga plant,” said Tom du Plessis, president and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga.
“Part of us getting back to normal is taking time to recognize these important achievements which are only possible because of the hard work and commitment of our exceptional team here in Chattanooga.”
The Volkswagen Chattanooga 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, 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—larger than the European vehicle, in order to offer the kind of interior and trunk space that North American buyers expect from a midsize sedan.
Nine years later, building on the success of the current generation’s combination of copious amounts of interior space, creature comforts and Volkswagen’s signature fun-to-drive nature, the 2020 Passat offers more than its predecessor of what 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 Key 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
Sept. 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
Jan. 1, 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
March 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 commences