Volkswagen has awarded almost US$436m in contracts in the year since it said it would build a car plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.


The amount includes almost $198m awarded by the city, state and Volkswagen to contractors and subcontractors for plant construction, with another $230m over the next 20 years.


VW has also awarded contracts worth over $238m on an annual turnover basis with local parts suppliers for the new mid size sedan to be produced in Chattanooga from early 2011.


“These contracts, while impressive, are more than just numbers. They are a clear testament to the progress we’ve been able to achieve in one short year with our partners in Chattanooga and Tennessee,” said Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga operations.


VW originally said the plant would invest $1bn in the local economy and create over 2,000 direct jobs.


Construction of the facility at Enterprise South Industrial Park is under way, with start of production of 150,000 vehicles annually on schedule for early 2011.


Work is more than half complete on the paint shop facility, which will use pioneering technology to minimise waste and reduce carbon emissions by more than 20%.


Meanwhile, hiring for professional positions continues and will accelerate through the remainder of 2009. More than 100 local employees have been hired to date in areas such as engineering, manufacturing, purchasing, human resources, IT and finance. Volkswagen plans to begin accepting applications for production positions in late 2009, with hiring set to begin in early 2010.


According to studies, the Chattanooga plant is expected to generate $12bn in income growth and an additional 9,500 jobs over the life of the project.


The company has announced that at least 10% of the suppliers for the production facility will be minority and women-owned businesses by start of production and that 5% of suppliers for the vehicle will be minority and women-owned by start of production, with the goal of 10% by 2015. Volkswagen is partnering with local, state and federal organisations to help achieve that goal.