Volkswagen Arrives Bearing Gifts
To lure Volkswagen of America to Herndon, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) worked for seven months and authorized $6 million in incentives.
So when he arrived this morning for the formal announcement ceremony to talk about the importance of Volkswagen's move to Northern Virginia, he first stopped a quarter mile from the Woodland Park site, exited his official Suburban and got into an Audi 8A, one of the major brands manufactured by Volkswagen.
Volkswagen is moving from Auburn Hills, Mich., near Detroit, as part of a corporate restructuring (see story) that will slash 400 jobs in Michigan and move 400 additional jobs to Herndon. It will also result in $100 million in investment in the new headquarters.
Kaine, Volkswagen of American chief Stefan Jacoby, Fairfax Economic Development Authority chief Gerald Gordon and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman Gerald E. Connelly made the announcement this morning in front of about 60 people overlooking the new building. A handful of reporters, photographers and and cameramen chronicled the event.
Kaine presented Jacoby with Virginia's flag. Then Jacoby spoke, discussing his vision for his company -- which has experienced sagging sales in the United States -- and announced he had a small present for Kaine.
Kaine wondered whether it was the keys to a a silver Audi R8 over his right shoulder. (That's a $130,000, 420 horsepower beauty that can go from zero to 60 in four seconds.)
Alas, his gift wasn't so elaborate. Jacoby gave Kaine a toy model of the original red Volkswagen Beetle, perhaps the car most associated with the company in the United States.
In his talk, Connelly (D) used the opportunity to tout the new rail to Dulles that Virginia wants to build. After the event, both he and Kaine were peppered with questions about how Virginia would meet cost caps for receiving federal help.
Guests snacked on water and Panera pastries as they inspected the selection of Volkswagen cars, including a Eos convertible and modern Beetle.
--Zachary A. Goldfarb
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