Volkswagen opens new distribution center in Roane County

Volkswagen opens new distribution center in Roane County

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The facility sits just off of I-40 near the split with I-75 in Roane County. (Source: Volkswagen) The facility sits just off of I-40 near the split with I-75 in Roane County. (Source: Volkswagen)
The interior of the facility. The interior of the facility.
Another look inside the facility. Another look inside the facility.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KINGSTON (WATE) - Volkswagen unveiled its new massive distribution center in Roane County Tuesday.

The company held a grand opening for the $40 million, 459,000 square foot Southeast Regional Distribution Center (SERDC).

Volkswagen officials from all over the world were in Roane County to unveil the automaker's 12th distribution center in the United States.  

The facility, which is located near the I-40/I-75 split, distributes auto parts throughout North America and to Germany for the Chattanooga-made Passat.  

Volkswagen officials say the facility will help reduce delivery times of components for the Passat mid-sized sedan.

"Sixty or some percent of our business is east of the Mississippi River, so this fills a hole in our distribution network and a key area of volume for us," said Anu Goel, Volkswagen Group's vice president of parts and vehicle logistics.  

In April, the facility began operation as a redistribution center to help service warehouses in U.S., Canada, Mexico and Germany.

"You can basically come in here and build a vehicle. This will have nuts, bolts, screws, engines, transmissions, sheet metal, seats, seat covers, seat belts," said Goel.

In December, the facility will later expand to include a parts distribution center where service parts will be distributed to Audi and Volkswagen in as many as ten states.

The company expects 50 workers to man the facility by mid-2014.

The jobs will be comprised mostly of warehouse workers and several quality control specialists. Volkswagen said it was also considering placing a call center at the facility.

The project is two years in the making. The state kicked in around $1 million in grant funding, and Roane County gave a ten-year property tax break to help land Volkswagen.

"Of the private investments, this is at the top of the list. We really appreciate interest in the Roane County economy," said state Sen. Ken Yager (R-Harriman).

A Volkswagen official would not comment on reports that the Chattanooga plant is in line to produce a new crossover SUV for the German automaker.

A decision about production of the new crossover SUV model could come as soon as the quarter beginning in July.

Gov. Bill Haslam's top deputy, Claude Ramsey, said those talks are very active.

"We're working on the next phase of expansion. And that expansion, if we're able to bring it to Chattanooga, it will cause expansion here and that ripples all through the valley" said Ramsey.

Thanks to high performance insulation, water efficient landscaping and the use of regional materials in construction, the facility has attained LEED silver certification as a green building.

The Volkswagen Group plans to invest more than $5 billion in North America over the next three years in new products, technologies and infrastructure.

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