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. 


East Ridge Man Charged With Abusing 3-Year-Old Son

An East Ridge man has been arrested after bruises were found on thethigh of his three-year-old son. Roger Brian Stevens II, 23, was charged with felony child abuse. East Ridge Police said that on or about May 9 Stevens struck his son with an object that left two horizontal bruises. The bruises were photographed by police on May 11 when they "were plainly visible." They ... (click for more)

Latest County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BAKER, LAKISHA RENEE  2409 E 13TH STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 36 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County DRIVING ON REVOKED, SUSPENDED OR CANCELLED LICENSE --- BELL, LISA DAWN  9806 SMITH MORGAN ROAD SODDY DAISY, 37379  Age at Arrest: 51 years old Arresting Agency: ... (click for more)

Erlanger Electronic Medical Records Purchase Doesn't Add Up

Erlanger has recently announced their decision to purchase a $100,000,000 Electronic Health Information System. Something smells. Erlanger's downtown campus has 760 licensed beds, according to hospital-data. That would equate to $131,578 per bed for this system (now that's a lot of ipads). Please re-read that simple math. I use to manage an Electric Medication Administration ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: General Boykin Helps ‘Warriors’

General W.G. “Jerry” Boykin is one of the most fabled warriors in modern-day warfare. He is also one of the most polarizing men who has ever served his country. General Boykin, retired after 36 years as a soldier, spent 13 years in the secretive Delta Force. At one time he commanded the Green Berets and was in one some pretty impressive engagements. In 1980 he was in on the ... (click for more)

Harris Leaves Tyner For Administrative Job At Dalewood Middle

(Story has been updated) Long-time Tyner Academy boys basketball coach Gerald Harris has resigned his coaching position to accept a job as assistant principal at Dalewood Middle School. Harris, 49, was offered and accepted the administration job last Friday and met with last year’s team on Tuesday to break the news to those players. “I’ve been coaching a long time ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: Giving With A Cheerful Heart

Recently a program was started called, "Dining Out For Life," benefitting people who are affected by HIV. Tonight  several local restaurants will be partnering with Chattanooga Cares to raise money to support the organization's nutrition assistance program. There is a big need for fresh fruit and vegetables and the funds raised this evening will go to support that need. ... (click for more)