Stefan Jacoby, CEO, Volkswagen of America

In 1969 Walter Cronkite called Chattanooga, TN the dirtiest city in America. By 2011 Volkswagen will be producing a new four-door midsize car (code name NMS). According to Jacoby the NMS will replace the Passat. More than half of the companies involved in the project are based in Tennessee. The new Volkswagen production facility will invest $1 billion and provide about 2,000 jobs. The first product will be the NMS, and the plans are to produce 150,000 a year. A second product will be produced in Tennessee, but Jacoby would not say what it was.

While in Germany driving the gasoline and diesel 2010 Golf we also visited the Phaeton plant. The L-shaped Transparent Factory covers an 8.3 hectare site on Dresden’s Strassburger Platz, just 100 metres from the Botanical Gardens. This transparent factory even fooled the birds that flew into the windows. In order to protect the birds from the neighboring botanical gardens 350 trees were planted (at a cost of Euro 56,000). If you listen carefully you can hear birds singing. That sound was manufactured to warn birds of danger if they flew near the building.

VW plans to have a hybrid in the United States by 2011 and a plug-in electric vehicle (dubbed E-UP!) by 2013. The 3-door 4-seater front-wheel drive will have a 60 kW electric motor that produces 210 Nm of torque. Best of all, you will be able to manufacture engine sounds – like a Porsche.

Here is Jacoby talking about diesel, as an alternative energy and stressing that electric vehicles will not be in mass production as quickly as some think.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.