Ten years ago last week, Volkswagen opened its 446,400-square-foot supplier park next door to the Chattanooga factory. With a $21 million investment, the site quickly became home to six suppliers supporting 500 jobs helping to assemble the Volkswagen Passat.
Today, just as the Chattanooga factory has grown, so has the supplier park and the suppliers nearby. Seven suppliers now work in the supplier park, assembling everything from seats to axles to dashboards, while four more have built facilities right around the corner. All told, the supplier complex now employs about an estimated 1,100 workers and represents some $275 million in investments.
Supplier parks and nearby locations play an essential role at modern automotive factories like the Chattanooga plant. Every mile of distance a supplier needs to haul their parts can add hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual costs. Just-in-time production systems like the one used at Volkswagen plants worldwide help keep on-hand inventories low so that workers get the parts just as they need them. By being as physically close to the plant as possible, suppliers can work more efficiently themselves.
The supplier park itself currently includes ThyussenKrupp, TNM, Kasai, Grupo Antolin, DRX, Faurecia and Schnellecke Logistics. Nearby suppliers include Gestamp, Yanfeng, Plastic Ominum and Wingard.
“The Supplier Park and our suppliers play a key role in helping to keep Volkswagen Chattanooga growing,” said Marty Ross, Senior Manager of North American Purchasing for Volkswagen of America. “We’re proud to work together with them, and with the addition of the Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV in 2022 to Chattanooga, we know that more opportunities lie ahead.”