Germany's U.S. ambassador on Monday toured Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant and said he's not worried euro zone problems could derail any future expansion of the factory.
"German companies are long-term investors," said ambassador Peter Ammon. "Volkswagen's investment did not stop during the financial crisis. German companies are here for the long haul."
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., who said he invited Ammon to the city, added that VW officials told them they built the plant with room to grow.
"They're exceedingly pleased with the Chattanooga work force," Fleischmann said.
Ammon and the congressman said they lunched with business leaders including those from VW and Wacker Polysilicon, which is investing $1.5 billion in a new Bradley County, Tenn., factory to start production in late 2013.
Ammon, too, cited the importance of educated workers.
"More and more depends on a trained work force," he said, adding the friendliness of local government was a common theme he heard from German business leaders.
Ammon noted the market for VW cars in the U.S. is growing. VW reported last week that its American sales have risen by 25.3 percent for the year through November over 2010.
Jonathan Browning, VW Group of America's chief executive, said last week in Chattanooga the automaker continues to build sales momentum.
"We're continuing the positive trends," he said.
Ammon termed VW's Chattanooga factory "one of the most modern car plants in the world."
"It's top of the line in all respects," he said.
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 ...