18 September 2008. Herndon, VA.
Stefan Jacoby Opening Remarks at Volkswagen Group of America U.S. Headquarters Opening
A year ago, we came here to announce that the Volkswagen Group of America would move its headquarters to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Today, I'm back to welcome you to our new home.
Our move is part of a new strategic direction for our group, and a lot has happened over the past year.
I will tell you a bit about where we've been and where we are going in a moment.
But first, I would like to introduce someone who played a key role in our decision to move to Virginia.
Governor Kaine, I very much appreciate your support.
You personally played a big role in our decision to come to Virginia.
We had a lot of options, but you showed us that Virginia had the right business environment and the qualified workforce that we need to thrive.
It's no accident that Forbes.com ranked Virginia the best state for business three years in a row.
Or that CNBC called it one of the most business friendly states in the country.
And….the governor is also good company and a motorsports fan.
We are racing our Jetta TDI's with an average of 25 miles per gallon.
And earlier this year, Governor Kaine drove the lead car at Virginia International Raceway for the first TDI Cup race.
I hope we can get back to the track next year — and I hope you'll drive again.
Ladies and Gentleman, the Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine.
[Governor Tim Kaine and Dr. Martin Winterkorn speak]
Jacoby Closing Remarks
Thank you, Dr. Winterkorn.
We are happy to have this chance to give something back to our community.
We work here, we live here, and we intend to give here.
Our five-year education program is comprehensive and will serve as a catalyst.
It will help students whether they are in high school, technical school, community college, university or graduate school.
We'll work with teachers, and the best and brightest students at some of Virginia's finest universities and community colleges.
We will establish programs in advanced automotive technology in the Fairfax County Public Schools and Northern Virginia Community College.
Northern Virginia Community College will extend their program to community colleges across the state. It will benefit students no matter where they live in Virginia.
We will also work with the Excel Institute to train students for high-demand, high-paying jobs in the automotive service industry.
At the university level, we are sponsoring scholarships and grants for students and professors committed to next-generation engineering. These scholarships are at George Mason University, Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia.
With all of these programs, we will train teachers so they can share knowledge on automotive safety and environmental technology.
We'll donate money, cars and, perhaps most important, our time and expertise.
We are excited for this opportunity, and I would like ask Dr. Winterkorn and Governor Kaine to join me as I introduce and welcome representatives from each of our partner institutions to join me on the stage.
James Aylor, Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Richard Benson, Dean, College of Engineering, Virginia Tech
Jack Dale, Superintendant, Fairfax County Schools
Alan Merten, President, George Mason University
Robert Templin, President, Northern Virginia Community College
And George Starke from The Excel Institute
Ladies and Gentlemen, our new home offices are not only an architectural masterpiece, but also encourage communication and transparency among employees… in a contemporary environment.
We have settled into our new home, but our company is still very much on the move — and we have no intention of slowing down.
Simply put, our goal is to make Volkswagen and Audi a much bigger part of American life.
Rupert Stadler and Johan de Nysschen are leading that charge for Audi, with an aggressive approach to the U.S. market.
Audi's strategy includes beautiful new products, innovative marketing, and an exclusive dealer network with first class service.
A year ago, I talked about the five pillars that support our Volkswagen strategy: product, brand positioning, our dealers, organization and local production.
We have moved forward on each of those pillars.
Our products are better than ever. Volkswagen has introduced five new vehicles this year, including clean diesel models that have changed the way people think about diesel.
We've strengthened our brand positioning with creative advertising.
We've strengthened our relationship with our dealer network our closest link to customers. And quality and customer satisfaction are improving steadily.
We've streamlined our organization and hired top-quality talent in Northern Virginia.
About 130 of our best employees moved here with us. We've hired another 180 in Herndon, and we will continue to hire in the coming months.
In July, we announced plans for a new production facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I'm honored that we have some of our new Tennessee friends here with us today.
It is time to reclaim our place in the American market. In a sense, we're coming home.
Volkswagen was the first European automaker to realize the vast potential in this great country.
The Volkswagen Beetle came here in 1955 and soon became an American icon, with German roots. The first Audis arrived in 1969.
The factors that made us so successful here a generation ago will make us successful again: We build fun, innovative, fuel-efficient and high quality cars.
You may have noticed that we are gathered today on Ferdinand Porsche Drive, named after the automotive pioneer who conceived the Volkswagen Beetle.
Our past leads us to our future.
When I spoke to you a year ago, a gallon of gas in the United States cost an average of $2.80.
Prices are now over $4 a gallon. Americans are changing their driving habits, and we are ready to help.
Volkswagen and Audi are industry leaders when it comes to fuel-efficient technology.
We are committed to environmental sustainability and a carbon neutral future, and we are investing in new technologies.
We pioneered clean diesel technology.
Behind me is the Jetta TDI, and on display are Audi Mileage Marathon vehicles, which are getting ready to leave on a 4,800 mile tour running from New York to Los Angeles in October.
More innovations are on the way.
We're improving the efficiency of gasoline engines.
We're perfecting a Golf Twin Drive diesel hybrid concept that uses an electric motor and whose batteries can be recharged by household current.
We're also developing zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
This summer, our hydrogen fuel-cell powered Tiguan traveled from Portland, Maine, to Los Angeles, California, stopping in 31 cities along the way.
Our commitment to fuel-efficiency is one reason our sales have increased in the U.S. this year, despite falling sales for the industry as a whole.
We're excited about our future in this country, and we're excited about our future in Virginia.
We're here to stay, and we intend to be good corporate neighbors.
I know you like to say that Virginia is for lovers.
You have certainly opened your hearts to us.
Now, we would like to open our new home to you.
With help from Gov. Kaine, Prof. Dr. Winterkorn, Mr. Stadler and Johan we'll cut this ribbon and officially open the doors to the new headquarters of the Volkswagen Group of America!