published Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Business Briefs: Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant is global model, official says

New Volkswagen Passats are seen behind the Chattanooga assembly plant's building.
New Volkswagen Passats are seen behind the Chattanooga assembly plant's building.
Photo by Dan Henry.
  • Tour Volkswagen's Chattanooga paint shop
    Production of the all-new Volkswagen Passat, specifically designed for the American market, is running full-speed inside the paint shop at the company's Chattanooga facility, with more than 600 cars being painted each day.

VW Chattanooga model for plants

A top Volkswagen official said Wednesday that the automaker’s Chattanooga plant will serve as the blueprint for new factories worldwide and has become a benchmark for environmental efficiency.

Dr. Jan Spies, Volkswagen AG’s head of factory planning, said at an automotive conference in Michigan that the carmaker is aiming to reduce its energy consumption by 25 percent and increase the renewable energy it uses by 2018 as part of the global Volkswagen Think Blue program.

As VW builds new plants — currently it has plans for seven more in China and an Audi plant in Mexico — designers are using the Chattanooga plant as a example, Spies said. He specifically cited the Chattanooga plant’s paint shop, which has one less spray booth and dryer than has been customary in traditional paint shops and doesn’t need to use a primer coat of paint.


Toyota recalls Tacoma pickups

Toyota is recalling 342,000 Tacoma midsize pickup trucks because the front seat belts can malfunction.The recall affects 2004 to 2011 Access Cab models with a small door to the rear passenger compartment.

Toyota said screws that attach part of the seat belts to the mechanism that retracts the belts can come loose if the rear door is closed repeatedly and forcefully. If that happens, the belts may not work properly for the driver or front passenger. Toyota said no crashes or injuries have been reported from the problem.

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