published Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Stepping up Passat output, Volkswagen hiring 200 more

A Volkswagen Passat moves through the assembly line at the Chattanooga manufacturing plant.
A Volkswagen Passat moves through the assembly line at the Chattanooga manufacturing plant.
Photo by John Rawlston.
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Volkswagen is ratcheting up hiring as it pushes the employee headcount at its Chattanooga assembly plant to 2,700 workers.

The automaker is adding 200 more employees, and it has raised production from 31 to 35 Passats per hour, officials said Tuesday.

Hans-Herbert Jagla, executive vice president of human resources for VW in Chattanooga, cited future demand for the all-new Passat. He said many people buy cars in the spring and summer.

"We want to be prepared," Jagla said.

The new jobs will be integrated into the German automaker's current two-shift operation and filled by full-time employees, the company said in a statement.

"We have had good success hiring local people who can work together as a team to build our cars safely and with the highest quality," Jagla said.

About 2,000 of the plant's existing employees are Volkswagen workers. Aerotek, the carmaker's contract supplier, has around 500 employees at the VW facility.

Ryan Rose, the plant's general manager of human resources, said VW will hire many of the current Aerotek employees to fill the new slots.

Aerotek will recruit to fill full-time contract production positions that will open up as a result, Rose said.

He added that VW also continues to hire supervisors and engineers.

J.Ed. Marston, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president of marketing, said VW is exceeding expectations. When VW announced it was coming to Chattanooga in 2008, officials said it would create about 2,000 jobs.

"They've added 700 jobs beyond what we and they thought they were going to do," Marston said.

He said the new jobs are welcome given the current economic environment. Last month, Food Lion announced it will shut 13 stores in the area, cutting about 500 jobs. Also, Lifetouch said Monday it will close two Olan Mills plants and lay off 383 people.

"Recruiting VW proved to be the gift that keeps on giving," Marston said.

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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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