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. 

Woman In Critical Condition After Being Shot In The Face Near O'Rear Street Identified As Entwadina Phillips, 20

A woman who is in critical condition after she was shot while driving in Chattanooga on Saturday night has been identified as 20-year-old Entwadina Phillips . Just after  9 p.m. , the Chattanooga Police Department responded to reports of a person shot. Once on the scene, police located a female victim near the 2500 block of O'Rear Street suffering from a life-threatening ... (click for more)

Large Pothole On Holtzclaw Causes Damage To Multiple Vehicles Tuesday Morning

A large pothole at 600 N. Holtzclaw Ave. caused problems for multiple drivers on Tuesday morning. It appeared that a water main leak caused the damage. Officials quickly barricaded one lane against the curb. One motorist caught up in the quagmire said, "The damage was not light to vehicles which hit the pothole on Holtzclaw today during the morning 8 a.m. rush ... (click for more)

City Council, Please Reconsider On The 7-Story Apartment Variance - And Response

I would like to thank the Regional Planning Commission and the Regional Planning Agency   for denying the recent application for a variance from the current zoning requirements in place for the 1200 block of Cowart Street. The developers want to build a 7-story parking deck with 141 efficiency and one-bedroom apartments wrapped around three sides in an area with a 48' height ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In December

As the fallen leaves confirm today is the first of December, my monthly walk in life’s garden is more foggy than fun. In much-older times, good children would get a piece of candy on Christmas Day while bad ones would receive a lump of coal. So here are some things that deserve a helping of both: A PIECE OF CANDY to the amazingly few who can spy a nest of mistletoe high in area ... (click for more)

No 1 Connecticut Overwhelms Lady Mocs, 79-31

At least 6,104 basketball enthusiasts got to see what the best women’s college basketball team in the country looks like Monday night at McKenzie Arena. The three-time defending national champion Connecticut Huskies won for the fourth time this season and 41 st game in a row with an impressive 79-31 victory over the Chattanooga Lady Mocs before the seventh-largest crowd in ... (click for more)

Mocs Fall 64-54 At ULM

The Chattanooga Mocs (5-2) five-game-in-10-day road show ended Monday night with a 64-54 loss at ULM (3-2). The squad shot a season-low 35.3 percent (18-51) in the loss. "I felt like we had good shots, especially in the first half,” coach Matt McCall said. “We were getting down the lane and guys were just flat out missing layups. Everyone for the most part was getting in the ... (click for more)