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. 


Grand Jury No True Bills And True Bills

Here are the latest no bills and true bills from the Hamilton County Grand Jury: No Bills: BLOCKER, ROBERT B 34 M 0 1 GS 1521034 POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE aka BLOCKER, ROBERT aka LITTLE, TINY BLOCKER, ROBERT B 34 M 0 GS POSS.A FIREARM DURING COMMISSIION OR ATTEMPT TO COMMITT A FELONY 2 1521038 aka BLOCKER, ROBERT aka LITTLE, TINY BLOCKER, ROBERT ... (click for more)

City Council Takes The Ice Bucket Challenge For ALS, Challenges County Commission

Vote No On Health Insurance Changes Affecting County Teachers

Our Hamilton County School Board will vote on insurance changes effecting both active employees and retirees, who are not on Medicare at this time.  HCEA strongly objects to changes being made at this time and urges a “No” vote.  Insurance had been frozen three years by negotiations.  Since the Educators Professional Negotiations Act was nullified by the 2011 Legislature, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Al Sharpton’s Wise Remarks

I’ll admit I paid little more than scant attention to the Monday funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by police bullets in Ferguson, Mo., after he allegedly was involved in strong-armed robbery. There are too many tawdry details and, in my way of thinking, there is nothing under God’s sun, absolutely nothing, that gives others the right to riot, burn ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Christian Sweeps Notre Dame In 7-AA Volleyball

 It didn't matter that the Chattanooga Christian volleyball team was on the road Tuesday night.  Who cared that they were playing one of their biggest rivals in District 7-AA in a loud and spirited Jack Steiner Sr. Gymnasium at Notre Dame High School. None of those factors came into play as the Lady Chargers were ready to play and the Lady Irish were not. The results ... (click for more)

Fulghum, Walker Power Soddy-Daisy Past Cleveland

Soddy-Daisy’s Lady Trojans shook off an up-and-down performance in last weekend’s Early Bird tournament at Oak Ridge and throttled Cleveland, 3-0, in a District 5-AAA volleyball match Tuesday at Soddy-Daisy High School. The Lady Trojans (8-4, 2-1) swept the match with set scores of 25-18, 25-22 and 25-15. Abby Walker and Karigan Fulghum combined for 30 digs and 18 kills to ... (click for more)