The Associated Press -- Workers check a VW Golf at the assembly line of the Volkswagen plant in Zwickau, Germany.
Chattanooga-area companies ranging from law firms to manufacturers and contractors are exploring ways to do business with Volkswagen and its future supplier network.
Included among state and local officials and economic development officials seeking VW supplier business in Germany this week and last was the Chattanooga office of law firm Baker Donelson.
“We are seeking suppliers that have legal work,” said Joe Conner of the firm during a stop by the group in Berlin. “We’ve got an economic development team not only in Chattanooga but in some other offices.”
Volkswagen’s planned $1 billion assembly plant in Chattanooga won’t just bring new companies to the area, officials said, but is expected to create opportunities for local companies as well.
WILL BANKS BE READY?
Mayor Ron Littlefield said the global financial problems will mean chances for local bankers to help supplier companies finance new construction and equipment to service the automaker.
He said some suppliers with whom he met in Germany indicated they might need financing help.
“The banking system needs to be ready. I was pressing some of the local bankers,” the mayor said after a meeting of Chattanooga Rotary Club on Thursday.
contractors and fabricators
Jim Sattler, chief executive of Chattanooga-based commercial builder EMJ Corp., said the company is bidding on construction of the shell of the main VW building to go up at Enterprise South industrial park.
“They’ve put out a package for the building shell,” he said. “We feel we’ve got very good prospects and are very capable of doing it.”
In addition, the company CEO said, EMJ would like to be involved with the tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers as they come to the region. Mr. Sattler said EMJ wants to use as much of the local subcontractor base as possible.
Scenic Industries, a Lookout Valley company that focuses on custom metal work and fabrication and creating fixtures for the auto sector, hopes it will gain from VW.
Randy Wooten, a project manager, said the company is positioned to capture VW work.
Scenic, which built a new facility about a year ago and is ramping up to employ 100 people in five years, has the quality controls needed to satisfy VW or suppliers, Mr. Wooten said.
“It’s a matter of if it fits with what we do,” he said.
office space awaits
Denis Pellerin of Pellerin & Salomon, which is overseeing work in the remake of Warehouse Row, said officials believe VW and suppliers coming here will help it fill office space in the downtown complex.
“Absolutely,” he said. “We’re very optimistic.”
Mr. Conner of Baker Donelson said it has had a number of contacts with potential suppliers to the Chattanooga VW plant.
VW’s nine-month profit rose 28.5 percent on improved sales and bigger market share and stuck to its forecast of beating last year’s sales, The Associated Press reported Thursday.
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 ...