Famous for keeping it local, the Tennessee Volkswagen plant has just agreed to give a Lexington construction firm a contract to the tune of $33.6 million. That’s over $3 million that Volkswagen will inject directly into the local Chattanooga and Lexington economy for an expansion that’s going to take the US VW arm to the next level. According to reports, Gray Construction Company was awarded the contract at the end of 2014 and will be charged with making the tech center, body shop and assembly finish bigger, better and more efficient than ever.
The expansion comes on the heels of news that Volkswagen’s brand new mid-sized SUV sport line is going to start rolling off the assembly line at Enterprise South Industrial Park. According to Volkswagen’s spokespeople, the entire worldwide expansion investment is $900 million. However, in total there’s $600 million now invested in Tennessee—along with 2,000 jobs created for Hamilton County.
A Lesson in Local
Not only has VW played an integral part in bolstering Tennessee’s economy, they’ve also revolutionized education and trade training. In Tennessee, community college students can apply for the Volkswagen program where the plant becomes their campus and university. They’re trained directly under Volkswagen experts and, assuming they receive passing marks, are guaranteed a job upon graduation. Now that the expansion is scheduled, students and workers alike are about to have even more modern tech at their fingertips.
According to the contract with Gray Construction Company, a $2.2 million contingency amount has been set and stipulates that the total contract can’t go beyond the $35.8 million mark. Currently, the contract is allowing for just over $21 million for body shop expansion, a little over $7 million for assembly finish and nearly $5 million is reserved for the technical center.
What’s in Store
Volkswagen has also confirmed that a new National Research & Development and Planning Center of Volkswagen Group of America will be created. This is where design engineers will gather to focus exclusively on boosting Volkswagen in the US. Local reports point out that Weitz Company was also on VW’s radar for potentially becoming their contracting partner, with the company bidding at $36.5 million, just a smidge higher than Gray Construction. Walbridge Aldinger was also in the running with a nearly $39 million bid.
The completion date has yet to be made official, but one thing is certain: Volkswagen is claiming a bigger stake in the American market and has done wonders to improve the Tennessee economy. Now the German auto leader is on to even more impressive feats.