published Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

VW hiring, production, in high gear at Chattanooga plant

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    DuPont duping tech specialist Chika Nomoto checks for proper dehydration of base and clear coat spray in the paint shop at Volkswagen in Chattanooga.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
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Volkswagen has begun a six-day-a-week, 20-hour-a-day operating slate for its Chattanooga plant as it accelerates hiring and production.

"The hard work of our production team over the past year has not only produced a car that won the J.D. Power APEAL award, but has also provided opportunity for these new employees," Frank Fischer, CEO for VW's Chattanooga operations, said in a news release.

The addition of the third team has boosted employees at the factory to more than 3,300, according to VW. Plans are to be up to about 3,500 by year's end.

In terms of production, VW is bolstering capacity to about 180,000 vehicles annually, up from 150,000.

According to VW, the three production teams will rotate through two shifts and work 40 hours.

The moves will allow for an increase in plant production time as well as normalization in weekly work hours for employees.

The change also will provide a more predictable work schedule that allows for a better work-life balance for the teams that are building the Passat midsize sedan, officials said.

"We have worked quickly over the last four months to recruit, hire and train our third shift team so that we can ease the work schedule of our production team, while maintaining the high standards for quality in our Passat," said Hans-Herbert Jagla, executive vice president of human resources for VW in Chattanooga.

VW said its employees had several rounds of input to determine how to implement the operation, including details such as lunch and break times and when to start and end daily shifts.

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