VOLKSWAGEN NEWS CONFERENCE UNDERWAY
A news conference is underway about the selection of Chattanooga for a new Volkswagen manufacturing plant. The news conference being held at the Hunter Museum with the Tennessee River as a backdrop.
Matt Kisber, the Tennessee Commissioner of Economic and Community Development opened the news conference. He said this is the most important event in his political tenure.
Kisber introduced Stefan Jacoby, the President and CEO of Volkswagen of America.
Applause broke out as Jacoby made the first public statement "Volkswagen of America is building it's next plant in Chattanooga."
Next he said, "Why?"
In answering his own question, he thanked the states of Michigan and Alabama for their interest.
"Something in our gut, or maybe in our heart... looking across the mountains and across the rivers, the intangible suddenly became very tangible. This is America at its best," said Jacoby.
He said with the new facility, they expect to triple their sales in the United States. He admitted that, like in a marriage, there will be good times and bad times in carrying out this aggressive plan.
Jacoby praised business and government leaders for "visionary leadership" that compliments that of Volkswagen. He specifically named Governer Bredesen, Senators Corker, Alexander, Congressman Wamp and Mayors Littlefield and Ramsey.
Jacoby ended by saying, "We are looking forward to a longterm partnership and marriage with Chattanooga and Tennessee."
Governer Bredesen then took the podium saying, "Danke schön" which mean "thank you" in German.
"They have their backs (to the audience) right now, but I wish you could see the smiles on Mayors Littlefield's and Ramsey's face right now," joked the Govorner as he praised their hard work.
The Governor said that the area "had a mission" and set about accomplishing that mission.
"I wish Washington would take note of what Chattanooga did," he added to another round of applause.
Hamilton County Mayor Ramsey took the podium saying, "They've given me two minutes tell you about 15 minutes of my life.... What a good day, what a good day," he said with emotion.
Mayor Ramsey's grandchildren were in the audience. He spoke of the drams he had for his grandchildren and thanked Jacoby "for making my dreams come true."
Mayor Littlefield said he told Jacoby that he had promised his wife a new Volkwagen if they decided to locate their plant here.
He said Mayor Ramsey suggested combining normally "highly-competitive" city and county workforces to prepare the Enterprise South site.
We're been through the rodeo before," said Senator Bob Corker. "I don't know of a greater event in this community in my lifetime."
"I'm happy for our citizens, our children and our grandchildren," said Sen. Corker. "But there is no one that I am happier for today than Claude Ramsey. I'm so glad this happened under his watch."
Senator Lamar Alexander said that with today's announcement, he expects Tennessee to become the number one state in the nation for automotive jobs.
Congressman Wamp joked how, among all the happy people, is Nelson Bowers, the owner of a local Volkswagen dealership.
Congressman Wamp said that for each of the 2,000 jobs created at the Volkswagen plant, we should expect an additional seven "support jobs."
"That's 14,000 jobs," he said. ""It was just a matter of time before a major auto manufacturer decided to locate at Enterprise South - and our time has arrived."