published Friday, November 12th, 2010

VW jobs to pass 2,000 with new facility

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    Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press Work continues on the market delivery options facility at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. About 120 jobs are being created to staff the facility where options such as spoilers and special wheels are added to vehicles.

The jobs count is growing at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant, with plans to add 120 more workers and push the total to more than 2,000, officials said Thursday.

Also, the new midsize sedan made at the $1 billion factory will be test driven on city streets by VW employees in January shortly after the car is unveiled at the Detroit auto show.

"We want to make really sure it has excellent quality," said Frank Fischer, chief executive of VW's Chattanooga operations. He said the yet-unnamed car will go on sale in the second half of 2011.

The jobs will be added at VW's market delivery options facility adjacent to the main plant, Fischer said. The operation is where custom items such as spoilers or special wheels are put on before vehicles are loaded onto trucks and train cars for delivery to dealers nationwide.

A combination of workers hired by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics and Volkswagen Group of America, the Herndon, Va., sales arm for VW in the United States, will staff the facility, according to the carmaker.

Fischer said VW has hired 1,200 people so far with the rest to be brought on by late 2011.

Hans-Herbert Jagla, executive vice president of human resources for VW in Chattanooga, said the carmaker expects its head count to reach between 2,000 and 2,500 workers.

Also, he said, contractors hired to oversee and maintain the grounds and take care of the massive plant site will create more jobs.

"There will be a lot of people taking care of the facility and the land," Jagla said.

He said the new jobs announced Thursday will pay between what the automaker offers its workers and what supplier employees earn.

VW starts production workers at $14.50 per hour, growing to $19.50 over three years. Supplier company pay isn't so rich. In West Point, Ga., where Kia Motors late last year fired up a new assembly plant, one of its biggest suppliers began its workers at $10 an hour plus benefits.

Jagla said six to eight workers of the 120 will be VW employees.

Mayor Ron Littlefield said the VW project is living up to expectations expressed a couple of years ago when it was announced and the city, Hamilton County and the state offered incentives valued at over $577 million.

"It's just getting bigger and better," he said.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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camo705 said...

Kia is in Ga. Nissan is in TENNESSEE. Lets compare VW's hourly pay to Nissan. Technician topout at VW in three years is $19.50. Technician topout at Nissan in three years is $24.92. Somethings wrong Here !!!!

November 15, 2010 at 5:43 p.m.
Macallanlover said...

Agree roagmat, you either want the job or not. Why whine? What does it matter? This is ignorant, union-type thinking. $40K a year for a production worker is damned decent wages, and they can find plenty of qualified workers for that. Not to mention, the workers in Georgia also have to pay state income tax. Yet they are still happy to have a good job. We don't pay better educated college grads this much in many professions after 3 years, why a factory worker who has spent little time/money to prepare themselves?

The job market is just that, a market. If the pay, benefits, or working conditions are not satisfactory, don't apply. Why would an employer pay more than the job is worth? Sounds like a good way to go bankrupt by not being competitive.

November 26, 2010 at 10:41 p.m.
trades_guy said...

roagmat: So the cost of living in Syrmna is $5/hr higher than Chattanooga? Give me a break!

macallanlover: Maybe you should get off your pencil-pushing azz and stand on a modern assembly line for a few years. I think then you would have a better understanding of the real labor required to drive the industrial/manufacturing sector.

Yours is the attitude that continues to draw so many undocumented workers to the US.

November 29, 2010 at 9:37 a.m.
camo705 said...

Trades_guy, you know what your talking about. Nissan also has a plant in Decherd Tn which is 1 hour from chattanooga. Isnt VW a MAJOR AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACT. Looks like they would be competitive with other MAM in TN rather than outside TN. HELLO

November 30, 2010 at midnight
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