For the first time in more than 20 years, Volkswagen sought to re-enter the United States with a new manufacturing plant.
The automaker was looking to establish a stronger U.S. presence with the addition of the new facility, which would incorporate state-of-the-art technology and processes.
VW laid out six areas of focus for the project:
The automaker required an experienced business partner for the critically important project. Criteria for selection included the need for full-time support and expertise in evaluating the most efficient and effective location for the new U.S. plant. For a project representing an investment of more than $1 billion, the company required a sophisticated suite of tools, technology, data and consulting expertise. VW says it was looking for a partner that had the technological savvy to analyze logistics requirements and develop a strategy to reduce transportation costs, optimize product flow, ensure needed labor, meet tax requirements and take advantage of incentives.
The plan anticipated creation of more than 2,000 new jobs at various levels of the facility, including production floor, research and development, and executive space. Finding a location that was ideal for VW’s supply chain, positioned properly for labor, and able to yield cost reductions where applicable, was a large endeavor. Business and economic incentive services were required to identify where there might be an impact in the form of cost savings, and other training and tax-related benefits.
In addition, the project called for a high degree of confidentiality and professionalism. As the world’s largest automobile manufacturer, VW needed a partner with the ability to accommodate any need, while providing best-in-class support and solutions. In all, VW says it had an extensive list of needs that required both consulting expertise as well and “boots on the ground,” to complete its successful re-entrance into the U.S. market.
Within just 24 months, JLL, a commercial real estate services company, helped to secure two VW facilities in the U.S.: a new $100-million North American headquarters, and a $1 billion assembly plant located in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Volkswagen says it saved more than 30% in real estate occupancy costs, with related savings and benefits totaling over $1 billion.
“JLL enabled us to get closer to key markets and to connect, even more closely, with our customers,” says President and CEO Stefan Jacoby. “At Volkswagen, that’s considered world-class engineering.
“From day one,” Jacoby adds, “JLL had a very strategic approach, and took the time to understand our business and culture — translating our operational needs into the right overall solutions for us.”
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