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While most car companies are just trying hard to produce low-emissions vehicles, Volkswagen is looking to make even their factories green. Or is that blue!
VW calls all their efficient models BlueMotion, and is taking the same approach to their factories. Their “Think Blue Factory” is an initiative they have launched to make all their factories more environmentally friendly by 2018. By way of using less energy and creating fewer wastes, VW hopes to clean their factories by reducing the environmental impact by 25%.
Hubert Waltl, a member of the board of management at VW said; “Through the growing efficiency and productivity of our plants, the Volkswagen brand is already making a key contribution to the achievements of Group strategic targets for 2018. However, we are going a step further: by 2018, we intend to make production at all our plants 25 percent more environmentally compatible.”
VW’s plant in Chattanooga, TN. was the worlds first plant to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification which means this factory meets the strictest of environmental standards. So say what you will about the new Passat, at least it is built in a modern, clean factory.
Volkswagen‘s Chattanooga manufacturing plant has become the first and only automotive manufacturing facility in the world to receive a Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). From the onset, Volkswagen had designed their Chattanooga plant, where their popular Passat is produced, to be as green as possible and now they have something to show for it.
From the ground up, VW integrated various energy-saving technology into the plant, with its ultra-clean paint shop saving 50-million gallons of water in ten years. Other features of the plant include superior insulation provided by six-inches of mineral rock wool that results in saving 720,000-kilowatts per year; green power from the local hydroelectric dam; LED lighting on the exterior results in 68-percent less energy used; rainwater is collected and reused to flush toilets and cool welding machines; the plant’s white roof membrane is highly reflective and helps minimize heat island effect by up to 50-degrees Fahrenheit; natural flowing creeks capture heavy rains and restore a natural habitat; low-flow water fixtures and no-touch sensors throughout the plant reduce water usage by 30-percent; and lastly, the plant was built on brownfield property with no destruction of untouched nature.
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has confirmed that the company will build a vehicle assembly plant in North America. In an interview with Automotive News, Stadler explained specific details about models, location and capacity will be made within three years. Audi may also be building a plant to specialize in the construction of engine and transmissions. ”It is totally clear that we need new production capacity in the U.S.,” Stadler told the trade publication. “The question only is when.”
Audi is reportedly considering new U.S production of a large coupe like crossover called the Q6. This vehicle will aim to take on the BMW X6. The Q6 will be based on the same platform as the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne. The Q6 may be assembled on a new line at VW’s Chattanooga plant. North American built Audi’s will likely begin rolling off the line by 2014.
[Source: Automotive News]
Volkswagen finally opened up their new factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which will employ 2,000 Americans and build up to 150,000 vehicles per year.
VW Chairman Dr. Martin Winterkorn and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood were present to inaugurate the factory, as well as the governor of Tennessee and the Germany’s ambassador to the United States. The plant broke ground in 2009 and meets the latest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for environmental friendliness, including waterless auto painting, energy-efficient LED lighting, and rainwater collection. VW claims that the plant uses 20 percent less energy than a similarly-sized factory.
The plant will primarily build the Passat for US-specific consumption.
Volkswagen‘s new Chattanooga, Tennessee plant built its first car destined for a customer Wednesday, a dark Blue Passat 2.5L equipped with an automatic transmission.
The plant should reach full capacity in 2012, at which point it will produce 150,000 Passats annually. Volkswagen says that the plant will generate $12 billion in economic growth for the region, and 9,500 jobs related to the plant. Speaking to an assembled crowd, Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO Frank Fischer said “It has been an exciting challenge for all of us to build a new vehicle and a new plant at the same time, all while establishing new suppliers; but our team members have overcome those hurdles with a passion for details that has produced automotive excellence.”
When Volkswagen’s new mid-sized sedan arrives in 2011, there is a strong possibility that it will replace, rather than join the Passat, in the German automaker’s lineup. VW Group of America CEO Stefan Jacoby has said that the company is currently studying whether or not to keep the Passat, but all evidence points to its elimination.
Volkswagen has big plans to take on Toyota in the U.S. marketplace and to do so the company has finally admitted that its current lineup of European vehicles are just too small and too expensive for mainstream American tastes. That being said, if sales of the Passat are already not that great, offering a larger and less expensive vehicle certainly won’t help the car’s business case.
Last year VW sold just 30,034 Passat models, compared to a high of 96,142 in 2002. Sales for 2009 look even worse as the automaker has only managed to move 9,163, units so far. Volkswagen hopes to sell 100,000 units of the new mid-sized sedan initially with plans for increased market presence thereafter.
Currently the Passat sells from $27,695, while this new sedan is expected to be priced much closer to the $20,000-mark. The lower price comes as a result of the fact that VW will build the car in the U.S., at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant.
We’ve known for some time now that Volkswagen is planning to build a new mid-size sedan, but as details of the German automaker’s future product lineup emerge, it appears as though VW isn’t just interest in taking on the Camry, but the entire Toyota lineup.
Volkswagen has the potential to overtake Toyota as the world’s largest automaker, but first it must crack the North American market. The new mid-sized sedan will be the first step in that direction, but after it will come a competitor for the Highlander.
Apparently Volkswagen is finally ready to abandon its European philosophy and sell Americans what they want – big cars. “U.S. customers look at size and engine displacement. They won’t pay an extra dollar for a Passat over a Camry just because of its finesse and attention to detail,” said a VW representative to the staff at Car & Driver.
So what we can expect from the upcoming sedan is essentially just a larger and less expensive version of the Passat, with what will most likely be a more progressive (CC-esque) design. The VW rep’s comments about engine displacement also draws into question previous reports that the upcoming sedan will be powered by VW’s 2.0 TFSI and 2.5-liter engines.
The release date for the upcoming Volkswagen family sedan has also been moved up to 2011, most likely to take advantage of the struggling U.S. automakers.
It, as well as the Highlander-competitor, will both be assembled in the Unites States at Volkswagen’s new Chattanooga, Tennessee facility.
The new bigger-is-better philosophy at Volkswagen will also spill over to the Polo. Apparently it will still hit our shores but not until 2012 and in a larger format than in Europe and as a sedan.
According to C&D, VW’s future vehicles for the U.S. include the BlueSport Roadster (which has been temporarily placed on hold) as well as a second generation of the hugely unsuccessful Phaeton.
[Source: Car & Driver]
In an exclusive interview with Automotive News, Volkswagen North America CEO Stefan Jacoby let slip precious few details about the secret new sedan that is slated for production. But he did admit its existence, even saying that the final design of the vehicle had been agreed upon in just the past few weeks in Wolfsburg.
Whether it will look anything like the sketches that leaked out in February (pictured above), has not been confirmed.
What else we do know is that the vehicle will use VW’s 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter engines and will cost a very-reasonable $20,000.
The vehicle is slated to be produced in VW NA’s new Chattanooga, Tennessee plant with sales beginning in the Spring of 2012.
As for what else will be built at the plant, there is the possibility of a VW version of the upcoming Audi Q3 – although that may no longer be likely after VW announced a “project” had been put on hold in the U.S. after it decided to award the SEAT facility in Spain the contract to build the Q3.
Most likely to be built at the new facility are the two new Polo models that Jacoby has already confirmed are coming. With the current Euro-spec Polo deemed too small for the U.S. market, VW plans to bring a sedan and hatchback version of the Polo, but not until 2011. And where better to build a North American spec vehicle than in North America.