Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development
While you can’t see it from the outside, I am happy to report that renovation work inside the Volkswagen building located at 3800 Hamlin Road is winding down and almost complete. It is hard to believe that the $19.4 million project started one year ago. We consider Volkswagen’s decision to reinvest in the City of Auburn Hills a wonderful story.
The majority of Volkswagen Group of America’s technical and research operations have been in Auburn Hills since 1992. As you may recall, the company moved its North American headquarters out of this building and about 350 jobs to Herndon, Virginia in 2008. It was disappointing, but we understood it was a business decision. Volkswagen sales are particularly strong in the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as along both the East and West Coasts. The company indicated that it was important for them to locate their headquarters to a region where their customer base was strongest.
Although saddened about the loss of the corporate headquarters, we did not give up on the relationship. The City kept constant communication with Volkswagen over the years, which built a sense of trust. When they contacted us in late 2010 about their desire to consolidate all their support operations into one single location; we went to work to make the case that it should be done in Auburn Hills. Expedited permit approvals, timely inspections, excellent public services, well-maintained infrastructure, and tax abatements together as a package helped seal the deal.
As a result, Volkswagen signed a new lease at the facility thru Y2022, with options to extend their stay until Y2032. The renovations will help them meet the technical service and R&D needs of their business. They have created a new emissions test facility, expanded their technical service center to include testing areas for hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles, and renovated all the floors. The building will also include the company’s customer relations, after sales support, service, parts logistics, and warranty operations. In the end, Volkswagen committed to employ 1,100 people at the facility.
Volkswagen could have gone anywhere, but decided to invest here. We are grateful for their decision to stay and commit their future to the City of Auburn Hills.