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. 


Kristin Taylor, 23, Arrested After Alleged Assault With Broken Glass, Broom

Kristin Taylor, 23, was arrested on Sunday and charged with aggravated domestic assault after she allegedly threatened her sisters and mother with a broken glass shard and a broom. When police responded to the residence on the 8900 block of Afton Lane, they found the victims had locked themselves in a bedroom. Officers spoke with the sisters through a window and were ... (click for more)

Jamichael Harris, Man Charged In 2014 Murder, Granted Permission To Attend Church

More than a dozen family members gathered in court on Wednesday to hear that Jamichael Harris, a man who is on pretrial house arrest for the June, 2014 murder of Inez Burney, will be allowed to attend Trinity Baptist Church on Sundays and Wednesdays while he awaits trial. Judge Steelman previously reduced Harris’ bond on July 1 from $500,000 to $100,000 so that his family ... (click for more)

Sheriff Hammond Is Right On The Muslim Threat - And Response (4)

Sheriff Hammond is exactly correct on the Muslims in Tennessee.  He sees with clear eyes the problem with the Muslims in our state and country.  They do want to take over Tennessee.  Our politicians are selling us down the river and allowing the trouble makers to dig in like tics and suck out the life's blood of our Constitution and take us over.  They ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Barners Trounce Who?

There is a website known as Grammarly that just completed a profound study. An automated proof-reading company (who I hope never finds out about me) collected 100 comments that each included over 50 words from the comment blogs of the nation’s preseason Top 25 college football teams. Then they fed them into the company’s huge algorithm computer and checked each fan base for punctuation, ... (click for more)

Pugh, Smith Lead Sale Creek Past East Ridge, 3-0

If Sale Creek’s Bailey Pugh and Ariana Smith were a comedy act, Pugh would be Ed McMahan and Smith would play Johnny Carson. On the court, Pugh sets up Smith, who finishes things with killer punch lines. That was certainly the case Tuesday at East Ridge High School where the visiting Lady Panthers rolled over the Lady Pioneers, 3-0, with game scores of 25-16, 25-8 and ... (click for more)

Luthringer, Boyd Earn First Wins In Prep Cross Country Tuesday

There were a couple of first-time winners on Tuesday afternoon at Camp Jordan as the Chattanooga Cross Country League had its first official meet of the season. It was plenty hot and the humidity was relentless, so race officials decided to shorten the first race from the customary 5K distance to a two-mile test. The heat didn’t seem to bother the overall winners as Signal ... (click for more)