Chattanooga VW In Stiff Competition With Mexico For Production Of CrossBlue, Speaker Says

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Chattanooga Volkswagen plant is in stiff competition with a much-larger facility in Mexico to produce the new "CrossBlue" SUV concept car unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show, Dr. Guenther Scherelis told members of the Chattanooga Rotary Club on Thursday.

However, the Volkswagen board in Germany must first make a decision on whether or not to proceed with the "CrossBlue," Dr. Scherelis said.

He said that decision may come in about a month, then - if favorable - the plant designation would be in about six months.

If Chattanooga gets the approval, it would double the size of the already huge auto assembly plant at the Enterprise South Industrial Park in Tyner.

Dr. Scherelis said, "Our chances are good, but also other plants have good chances."

He said Frank Fischer, president of Chattanooga Volkswagen, and other top local VW officials are lobbying in Germany for the local site.

He said, "They are off to Germany to lobby for the car. Almost all the time they are trying to get the car here."

Dr. Scherelis said Chattanooga VW has 3,200 employees, whereas the VW facility 80 miles from Mexico City has 18,000. It has been operating since 1964.

He said the Mexico plant has the advantage of free trade agreements. He said local VW officials are hopeful that current talks with yield a free trade agreement between the U.S. and the European Common Market.

The speaker said if approval is given for the CrossBlue that it will then have to go into final design. He said it then may go to market by 2016 or 2017. He said cars now go into production at a much faster rate than in years past. He said in the 1990s it might take eight years from idea to production.

He praised the Volkswagen Academy, saying that business people from around the world are studying the facility. But he said there is still a shortage of highly-skilled workers here, and they must be recruited nationally. He also praised the work ethic and enthusiasm of local workers.

Also, he said Chattanooga needs to draw more suppliers here to cut down on the local plant's logistics costs.

The local plant is turning out 630 cars a day. The total last year was 152,500.

The Volkswagen group passed 550,000 cars sold in the U.S. last year and is aiming for over 600,000 next year. The goal is over 800,000 by 2018.

He said there was a problem with cars here being damaged by hail storms, but a hail net has been installed. 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ANDERSON, KEVIN MICHAEL  1056 PINEVILLE ROAD CHATTANOOGA, 37405  Age at Arrest: 34 years old Arresting Agency:  VIOLATION OF ORDER OF PROTECTION OR RESTRAINING OR --- BALTIMORE, MICHAEL JUNIOR  3217 6TH AVE CHATTANOOGA, 374071536  Age at Arrest: 59 years old Arresting Agency: ... (click for more)

Severe Storms Rake Chattanooga Area; Flash Flooding Possible

Severe storms raked through the Chattanooga area on Saturday. Sale Creek was one of the hardest hit areas. Storm damage on Cooper Road included two crushed cars. Trees were on homes and railroad tracks that are the main line between Chattanooga and Cincinnati. Cooper Road is near Lake Chickamauga. There was also damage along Providence Road at Sale Creek. ... (click for more)

No Tax-Supported Entity Should Get Secrecy In Spending

A shadowy situation has emerged in Chattanooga with an organization that manages millions of taxpayer dollars with no transparency and such a surprising disregard for accountability that one wonders what it would take to wake up elected officials who are supposedly in charge. Welcome to the Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, whose lawyer threatened to sue the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Is Dr. Edwards The One?

Just hours after the chairman of the Hamilton County School Board emailed a list of 14 candidates on Friday afternoon to be considered as the next Superintendent of the 42,000-student system to the other board members, Dr. Nakia Edwards, an Assistant Commissioner with the Tennessee Department of Education, became the early “common sense” favorite. And, at first glance, she has ... (click for more)

Lookouts Double Header Cancelled Sunday Due To Heavy Rains

The Lookouts have announced that Sunday's(4/23) double-header has been postponed due to inclement weather, unplayable field conditions and impending forecast.   The team will make up these contests as part of two double headers, one  on Monday  and one  on Tuesday .  Both double headers will start at  5:15 p.m.  and will consist of ... (click for more)

UTC Track Completes In War Eagle Invitational

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore Haley Morris (Lenoir City, Tenn.) topped her personal best in the women’s 3000 meter Steeplechase over the weekend at the War Eagle Invitational.   Morris finished fourth in the steeplechase with a time of 11:48.74, edging her previous top time set in the finals of the 2016 Southern Conference championships.   Also ... (click for more)