15 July 2008. Chattanooga, TN.
Stefan Jacoby Remarks on Chattanooga Plant
Thank you Commissioner Matt Kisber for that kind introduction.
Thank you also to Governor Bredesen, Senator Corker, Senator Alexander, Representative Wamp, Mayors Ramsey and Littlefield, Chamber of Commerce Vice President Hamilton and the good people of the Hunter Museum for letting us borrow your beautiful building today.
I also want to welcome all our other distinguished guests.
The Volkswagen Group is building its U.S. factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Does it feel good to finally be able to say that.
I imagine it's also good for Tennessee to hear it said.
I know this announcement has been a long time coming.
On behalf of the leadership of the entire Volkswagen Group, I want to extend our sincere appreciation to Tennessee.
And, I want to thank the states of Michigan and Alabama, along with Governors Granholm and Riley.
We are impressed with their strong leadership.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We did not make our choice lightly.
Let me take a moment to explain how we came to our decision.
We found an excellent location for our U.S. production facility at Enterprise South.
But, this decision was about more than just a site.
I have always said that ultimately it would be based on something intangible — something in our gut — or maybe better, in our hearts.
Our final location needed to be compatible with the values and heritage of the Volkswagen Group, our brands, our employees, and the customers we serve.
As we stand in this beautiful room today, and look out across those spectacular mountains and river.
And enjoy the warm welcome of the citizens of Tennessee.
The intangibles are suddenly very tangible.
We agree with our new home's state slogan.
This is "America at its best."
At Volkswagen, we have a similar view of ourselves. We like to think in Germany…Volkswagen is best.
So, perhaps another good fit between our company and Tennessee.
We've found the ideal home to confirm our commitment to America and its drivers.
Our U.S. strategy is our top priority, not only for the Volkswagen group here in America, but for our global enterprise.
Almost a year ago, I outlined a strategic new direction for our company.
We are launching new products.
We moved our headquarters.
We streamlined our organization.
In many ways we hit the “restart” button.
We committed to connecting more with our U.S. customers — understanding their needs — and building cars that maintain the Volkswagen soul…but also meet the demands of driving in the U.S.
We also made an announcement that we would triple our car sales in the U.S. in the next 10 years — to 800,000 Volkswagens and 200,000 Audis.
That led some people in the industry to tell us to "get real."
Standing in this room today announcing a $1 billion investment into the local economy, about 2,000 new direct jobs will come from across the tri-state area and looking to begin production of a vehicle designed specifically for North America.
Now, that is real.
But we won't be able to do it on our own.
Today, the hard work begins.
We have an aggressive plan and achieving it will not always be easy.
There will be good times and bad times.
Our success will depend on your ongoing support.
And like any good partnership, we will be best when we are working together.
Of course, this city knows a little about partnerships and about vision.
Over the past 30 years, you have overcome environmental challenges to become one of the top places to live in this country.
You did it by coming together and creating a vision of what Chattanooga could be.
And you succeeded.
Chattanooga's vision of a clean, healthy city and focus on protecting the nature of this area is another reason that Volkswagen felt at home here.
Environmental sustainability is one of the Volkswagen group's core values.
And we're proud to become a part of Chattanooga's vision and environmental stewardship.
Thanks to the visionary leaders and people of Chattanooga, we're confident that the values of this area complement our own.
Speaking of visionary leaders, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the strong efforts of Chattanooga's respected community leaders.
Governor Bredesen and Senator Corker, Senator Alexander and Congressman Wamp, Commissioner Kisber and Vice President Hamilton and our distinguished mayors — Mayor Ramsey and Mayor Littlefield.
You all have worked hard and you made it easy for us to choose Chattanooga.
Gentlemen, I want you to know you chose well with us as well.
Tennessee can be assured we will be a reliable partner.
At our production facilities across the globe — in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Asia, and of course at home in Germany — we are invested in the communities that we call home.
Long-term commitment is the hallmark of our Group's success.
We look forward to a long and productive partnership.
I'd now like to introduce the head of this great state, Governor Bredesen.