published Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

VW expects more than 100,000 job applicants

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    Staff Photo by Dan Henry Frank Fischer, CEO of VW operations in Chattanooga, left, Thilo Brockhaus, center, and Hans-Herbert Jagla, Exec. VP of Human Resources for VW in Chattanooga, right, converse after holding a press conference where they spoke about future staffing plans of VW at the new visitors center on Tuesday.

Volkswagen has received more than 18,000 job applications so far for its Chattanooga plant, and officials expect the number to top 100,000 after they open up hiring for production posts later this year.

"Hiring for salaried positions will accelerate in 2009," said Frank Fischer, chief executive of Volkswagen's Chattanooga operations.

The plant likely will hire more than the originally announced 2,000 employees because some components for the new car to be assembled at the plant could be produced at the facility, officials said, but they're unsure how many more workers may be brought onboard.

VW officials spoke Tuesday at the opening ceremonies for the 900-square-foot temporary visitor center overlooking the Enterprise South plant site. The visitors center will stay open until a larger welcome center is constructed.

Officials said the temporary location will accept visitors by invitation only, since construction on the $1 billion plant is ongoing.

Attending the ceremonies, Hans-Herbert Jagla, executive vice president of human resources for the Chattanooga operation, said VW will start taking applications for production workers in the fall. Those interested in applying for one of the new jobs will be able to do so online or at designated locations such as local Tennessee Career Centers at that time, Mr. Jagla said.

"The first priority is local hirings," he said. "We'd like to hire people from Chattanooga and Hamilton County first."

But the company will extend its search for employees nationwide if needed, Mr. Jagla said.

"We want to get a world-class work force," he said.

Mr. Fischer also said he expects VW to decide within the next six weeks whether it makes business sense to create a parts-supplier park next to the plant. While Volkswagen prefers such a park, he said, it may not be be a good fit for the suppliers and the developers who would construct the buildings.

"We're working hard to get suppliers in the park," Mr. Fischer said.

Mr. Fischer said construction of the assembly plant now is taking place at all four major buildings -- the paint, assembly and body shops, as well as the training center.

VW has placed orders with the German firm Eisenmann to provide equipment to the paint shop, he said, while another German company, Durr, will be a sub-supplier of the equipment.

Don Jackson, president of the Chattanooga operations, said the paint shop will be practically waste-free when it comes to changing colors for the vehicles. VW will institute a process that requires flushing out just a small part of the paint line during switchovers, he said.

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield said the pace of the work so far on the VW plant has been gratifyingly fast, especially since VW announced the plant last July.

"It's hard to believe it has been less than a year," the mayor said. "It will be paying benefits for years to come."

Mr. Fischer said that, in Germany, VW has begun assembling the prototype of the sedan that will be mass produced in Chattanooga.

VW wants to triple its American sales to 1 million units by 2018, and the sedan is seen as a key ingredient.

Production in Chattanooga is to start in the first part of 2011.

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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jjcoz25 said...

Eisenmann is planning on using foreign labor to install their process equipment at the VW plant in Chattanooga. They will call this a highly specialized complex paint system that was built in Germany by the same immigrates. Paint shops are not complex and there is nothing that Germany can do that AMERICA can’t do better. Eisenmann failed immensely at the Chrysler Windsor Assembly Plant a few years ago. Missed the launch date by like a year. Why are they building their system in Germany any ways???? http://zazona.com/NewsArchive/2003-07-25%20Alabama%20Firestorm%20over%20foreign%20workers.htm

July 14, 2009 at 6:48 p.m.
jjcoz25 said...

There is 500 million dollars in government assistants and tax breaks going into this project. We as a country should of never let Eisenmann bid on this project. There are plenty of good paint finishing contractors in the USA and they would of built their highly specialized paint shop right here in America and not Germany. How much in tax payers’ dollars did Germany give to help fund this project??

July 14, 2009 at 7:06 p.m.
VWapplicant said...

There are many qualified applicants from all over. The fact is that they are going to hire some very qualified applicants and some not so qualified beginners to be trained. They will hire some from every ethnic group. They will hire some men and some women for each type of job. But the starting pay is going to be the same for everyone and the pay after 3 years will be the same for everyone. They have to meet certain criteria for government subsidies. I pray that I am one of the ones that makes it through the hiring process and gets offered a job with Volkswagen and I pray that you do, too. In the luck of the draw, good luck to all.

February 15, 2010 at 7:57 p.m.
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