Volkswagen decided it was important to make the opening celebration of their brand-new Chattanooga, Tennessee plant something memorable. The answer: invite Darth Vader. Max Page, the child actor who portrayed the sith lord in this year's VW Super Bowl ad, was on-hand in full Vader attire to help inaugurate the new facility. Lord Vader entered the ceremony accompanied by a crew of Stormtroopers with the Star Wars theme music playing.
Also present for the ribbon cutting ceremony were Dr. Klaus Scharioth (German ambassador to the U.S.), Martin Winterkorn (Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG), and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Vader then "pushed the red button" that officially opened the facility. All told, the Chattanooga plant will employ more than 2,000 employees and will have a capacity to produce more than 150,000 cars per year. Specifically, the plant will be building the new U.S.-market only 2012 Passat.
Unlike in the past, the European and U.S. Passat models are now different, with the latter being larger. The European version will continued to be built in Germany.