published Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Sen. Corker optimistic on VW growth

It is thrilling to contemplate not only Volkswagen's current $1 billion investment in a manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, but the possibility of VW significantly expanding operations and employment here.

Thousands of local workers are already producing Passats at the large VW plant at Enterprise South industrial park.

But we may have even more to look forward to in the coming months and years where VW is concerned.

VW recently said it plans to invest, worldwide, roughly $86 billion over the next five years, in its effort to become the world's biggest car manufacturer.

While it is unclear what portion of that could be invested in Chattanooga, it is certainly interesting that the local VW plant has a great deal of room for expansion. Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, noted that the Chattanooga plant could readily boost production from 150,000 vehicles to 250,000 vehicles annually if it added some lines in its paint shop. And with the remaining land that VW has at Enterprise South, it could boost total production to 500,000 cars per year by building another plant on the property there, Browning said.

The prospects obviously encourage U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Chattanooga, who said during the annual meeting of the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association that VW considers Chattanooga "the kind of place they can flourish. I think they will, and I think there will be more happen here."

One tantalizing possibility is that VW will build an Audi assembly plant at Enterprise South. Audi is Volkswagen's luxury brand, and VW plans to make a decision within a few months on where in North America to build an Audi plant.

Clearly it would boost both the local economy and Chattanooga's already-growing prestige in the international business community if VW decided to build the Audi facility here.

But whatever Volkswagen decides, Corker sees "tremendous opportunity" for local VW expansions of one type or another.

That opportunity is exhilarating as Chattanooga looks forward to even bigger economic successes in the not-too-distant future.

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timbo said...

Republicans have complained about the government bailouts, stimulus and now some crazy loans like Solyndra that used tax payer money to subsidize private business. They were right, all these things were wrong. I even heard Daryl Issa say that it is wrong for the government to pick winners and losers. This is exactly the point I have made a million times but for a local project instead of national.

VW is no different than Solyndra or the stimulus. It is the local and state government stealing my money to give a foreign company millions in cash and millions more in tax breaks. The freebees never cease. No conservative could ever agree that the government picking winners and losers, and even chosing a foreign company to pay no taxes while struggling small business pays the tab is NOT CONSERVATIVE. What you are is a right leaning progressive that hasn't a clue what conservatism is all about.

The editorial writer is one of the biggest local hypocrites of all.

October 13, 2011 at 9:19 p.m.
carlB said...

If our "lobbied" Congress people have not learned to demand better fair trade agreements which provide a batter balance of trade deficit by now with the global corporations, it may to too late. It is hard for me to understand why Congress, in passing the "free trade agreements" did not show any fore thought in what the long range effect thay would have on our economy and our increasing unemployment? We have also lost too many manufacturing jobs by these companies closing plants here, investing to manufacture the same goods in the lower monerary value countries for shipment of the goods back to the USA, expecting the US consumers to buy. At what level will this trend reach the low point which has already helped created the 2007 deep recession?

October 14, 2011 at 6:46 p.m.
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