published Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Traction for tire outfit

A California company will move its headquarters to Chattanooga and create up to 25 jobs as the sixth company to join Volkswagen’s supplier park.

Wingard Quality Supply LLC will handle tire and wheel assembly for the automaker’s assembly plant, said Frank Fischer, chief executive of VW’s Chattanooga operations.

Wingard, based in Fremont, Calif., will put a new headquarters in the supplier park adjacent to VW’s plant.

“It’s a minority supplier,” Fischer added.

Seven companies are initially to locate inside the park and employ about 500 workers in all, the CEO said. VW is in the bid process to find a logistics company for the park, he said.

Wingard already has begun working with a staffing agency and plans to hire locally, according to VW. Wage levels weren’t announced.

  • photo
    Staff Photo by Patrick Smith/Chattanooga Times Free Press Frank Fischer, head of Volkswagen's Chattanooga operations, speaks during a news conference at Enterprise South Friday. Fischer announced Wingard Quality Supply will be building a new facility at the supplier park to provide tire and wheel assembly for Volkswagen.

Fischer said Wingard will install tires on the wheels for the sedan produced at the assembly plant, inflate them and prepare them for shipment to the nearby factory.

Jesse Wingard, the company’s president, said in a statement its core values are “safety, service, respect and quality.” The company also has a plant in Lafayette, Ind.

Thomas Loafman, VW Group of America’s purchasing director, said Wingard has “a history of quality work in our industry.

“Wingard has earned a reputation for quality with other manufacturers in the auto industry, and we know that high level of work will continue here,” he said.

J.Ed. Marston, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of marketing, said the VW plant project continues to pay dividends.

He said it helps when a company has its headquarters in the city because top management is located here.

“As the company grows, we may be in a better position to be aware of plans and reap the benefits of strategic growth,” Marston said.

The $21 million supplier park consists of two buildings.

VW plans to start production early next year and make 150,000 vehicles a year in Chattanooga. The $1 billion plant is to employ over 2,000 in full operation.

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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