ROANE COUNTY—A new $40 million Volkswagen distribution center in eastern Roane County will distribute domestic auto parts to a global market for the Passat, which is made in Chattanooga, the company said Tuesday.
The Southeast Regional Distribution Center started operating on a limited basis as a redistribution center in April. It serves five other depots in the United States, as well as warehouses in Canada, Mexico, and Germany.
Later, it will include a parts distribution center for 110 Volkswagen and Audi dealers in the Southeast.
The 54-acre distribution center, which has more than 450,000 square feet of space, is in the Roane Regional Business and Technology Park along Interstate 40 in eastern Roane County, about five miles outside southwest Oak Ridge. It’s next to H.T. Hackney.
Volkswagen, Roane County, and Tennessee officials celebrated its grand opening on Tuesday. Anu Goel, vice president of parts and vehicle logistics for the Volkswagen Group of America, said the center could distribute some $125 million in parts per year and stock 60,000 to 65,000 part numbers.
“This new facility serves as tangible proof of the clear commitment that Volkswagen Group of America has to meeting the needs of our dealers and our growing customer base,” Goel said. “Our continued investment in the U.S. market affirms that Volkswagen Group of America is dedicated to the communities in which we do business.”
He said the company is trying to expand its global network and reduce delivery times.
Roane County and Tennessee officials said the new distribution center is a spinoff of the two-year-old, $1 billion Chattanooga plant.
Volkswagen said it plans to invest more than $5 billion in North America during the next three years in new products, technologies, and infrastructure.
The Volkswagen Group of America operates five parts warehouses in the United States. The company said the new location is a critical addition to the network, and its strategic location in the Southeast will help ensure the ability to distribute parts faster and better serve the needs of customers.
“I want to thank Volkswagen for this new facility and all that it means to Roane County and Tennessee,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said in a press release. “Focusing on growth in existing companies is an important part of our strategy, and we appreciate the additional investment in our state.”
At Tuesday’s ceremony, which included a ribbon-cutting, company officials said they expect to have about 50 workers at the warehouse by the middle of next year.
“I am proud to be here today to celebrate Volkswagen’s $40 million global distribution center in Roane County, and want to thank the auto company for investing in our community,” said Roane County Executive Ron Woody. “Our residents here are friendly, and our workforce energized and loyal. Volkswagen’s choice of Roane County was not only a good choice, but the right choice.”
Volkswagen officials said the warehouse earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, silver certification on Friday. Among other things, it has a white insulated roof and LED lighting and motion sensors to reduce light pollution and energy use. Water collected on the roof is used for irrigation, and an on-site concrete plant was used to mix concrete at the site, reducing concrete truck traffic, said Adam Randall, parts operation specialist for Volkswagen Group of America in Auburn Hills, Mich.
It’s Volkswagen’s fifth building in the United States to achieve LEED certification and the first among Volkswagen’s warehouses.
“We are a green-certified facility,” Goel said.
As part of the grand opening celebration, Volkswagen Group of America announced a $2,500 donation to the Roane County Alliance’s Education Matters! initiative, which supports local students and promotes opportunities for post-secondary education.
“Volkswagen is certainly one of the most important industries we have welcomed into our community in recent memory and will no doubt have a significant impact on Roane County for years to come,” said Leslie Henderson, president and chief executive officer of The Roane Alliance. “Today’s celebration is the culmination of more than three years of work by The Alliance and the VW team—along with a huge dedicated team of public officials, volunteers, and supporters—and we couldn’t be more pleased that Roane County was their choice out of nearly 50 other communities from all across the country. Best wishes and a hearty welcome from us all in Roane County. We are so glad you are here.”
Note: This story was updated at 1:42 a.m. June 27.