Accelerating the Tennessee Valley automotive industry


Jan 13, 2015

VW: Chattanooga R&D Center 

Key to North American Strategy

Top Volkswagen officials are highlighting their efforts to make Chattanooga the center of their North American product planning operations.

Reporting on this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chattanooga Times Free Press writer Mike Pare says plans to establish a National Research & Development and Planning Center in the Tennessee Valley region marks a significant shift in strategy for the car maker. 

Gone are the days of employees in VW’s Wolfsburg, Germany, headquarters doing R&D for the North American market. Instead, Michael Horn, Volkswagen Group of America's chief executive, says "we'll bring our own business case to the table."

About 200 engineers are expected to be hired for the Chattanooga facility, and those employees will "focus entirely on the needs of U.S. drivers," adds VW CEO Martin Winterkorn. "We're getting ready for our next phase of growth."

According to the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association the project is helping move the state's auto industry from a world-class center for production to a hub for innovation excellence.

For more, see Pare’s report on

Map of the Tennessee Valley

The Tennessee Valley region is home to six major automotive manufacturers with a supply chain of over 900 mostly small- and medium-sized businesses, employing more than 100,000 people.

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