published Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Chattanooga’s VW plant is global model, official says

The Chattanooga Volkswagen plant is seen in this aerial photograph taken in March 2012.
The Chattanooga Volkswagen plant is seen in this aerial photograph taken in March 2012.
Photo by Dan Henry.

A top Volkswagen official said today that the automaker’s Chattanooga plant will serve as the blueprint for new factories worldwide and has become a benchmark for environmental efficiency.

Dr. Jan Spies, Volkswagen AG’s head of factory planning, said at an automotive conference in Michigan that the carmaker is aiming to reduce its energy consumption by 25 percent and increase the renewable energy it uses by 2018 as part of the global Volkswagen Think Blue program.This applies especially to energy consumption, waste volumes, solvent emissions, water consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, he said.

As VW builds new plants, currently it has plans for seven more in China and an Audi plant in Mexico, designers are using the Chattanooga plant as a example, Spies said in a statement.

Spies cited the Chattanooga plant’s paint shop, which has one less spray booth and dryer than has been customary in traditional paint shops and doesn’t need to use a primer coat of paint. This process alone reduces energy consumption by more than 20 percent. Volkswagen Chattanooga was the first plant to implement this energy-efficient paint process, and the method is being copied in other VW plants, he said.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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