published Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Vader makes Chattanooga appearance

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    Max Page, center, stands with Dr. Martin Winterkorn, left, and Frank Fischer Tuesday during opening ceremonies for the Volkswagen plant. Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press
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Playing off its highly popular Super Bowl commercial, Volkswagen brought its mini Darth Vader to the official unveiling of its Chattanooga plant.

While officials waited to push a ceremonial red button to start production at the factory, 6-year-old Max Page, dressed in “Star Wars” garb, marched to the front of the big room set up for the dedication and filled with onlookers. Max played a young Darth Vader in the popular TV ad.

In Chattanooga, he utilized “the Force” to help officials press the button and open a large wall, showing off the inside of the plant and a large group of applauding VW workers.

After the ceremony, Max was surrounded by VW officials and others who had their photos taken with him and a new black Passat.

His mother, Jennifer Page, said the public attention her son has received since the commercial is “unbelievable.”

“To be here is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” she said as her blonde haired son posed for photos.

In the commercial, he plays a youngster dressed as Darth who’s trying unsuccessfully to use his powers to wake up the dog or make his sister’s dolls come alive. After trying out the Force on a VW Passat, he’s astonished to see it work to start the car — with help from his father with a remote control in the kitchen.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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