published Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

German parliamentarian says Chattanooga is ripe for new business

Volkswagen's decision to build its Chattanooga plant is a signal to other German companies that the city is a favorable place for business, a German parliament member said here Tuesday.

"If a company like VW comes, they've proved it's attractive," said Karl-Georg Wellmann, who represents Berlin in Germany's Bundestag.

Wellmann said he recently talked with the factory's chief executive, Frank Fischer, and America's ambassador to Germany, Philip D. Murphy. He said Fischer told him that sales of the all-new Passat, which is made at the German automaker's new $1 billion Chattanooga plant, are better than expected.

"He was enthusiastic," Wellmann said.

VW reported Tuesday it sold over 5,000 Passats in October in the United States.

Trevor Hamilton, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president of economic development, said after meeting with Wellmann that there could be another wave of VW suppliers to the area.

He said that as the plant increases its output, there's an opportunity to attract suppliers who are already doing business with the factory but don't have a location on site or near the factory.

Wellmann on Tuesday also toured the Chattanooga factory, which officially started production this spring. The plant employs more than 2,000 people. Also, about 500 jobs have been announced by seven companies in a supplier park adjacent to the factory.

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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