At a gathering in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Governor Phil Bredesen and VW Board of Management member, Dr. Jochem Heizmann, oversaw placement of the first wall in what will become Volkswagen's newest assembly plant. The Volkswagen
Group of America is investing $1 billion in this ultramodern facility, which will include body, paint and assembly facilities as well as administrative offices on its 1,580 acres. When completed in 2011, the plant will directly employ some 2000 workers and be capable of turning out up to 150,000 vehicles a year. The first to roll off of its assembly lines will be a new mid-size VW sedan
specifically designed for the North American market. VW says that up to 30 percent of those vehicles are slated to be powered by the firm's TDI clean-diesel engines. Dr. Heizmann views the "made in America" aspect of this new plant as pivotal to implementing VW's ambitious growth strategy of tripling its sales here by 2018. "The automobile will always be an essential part of the American way of life. Despite the present situation on world markets, the U.S. market will recover and Volkswagen will be ready when that happens. The United States is a great car nation and we believe in a promising future for Volkswagen here."