* 800 — New jobs VW plant is creating
* 1,000 — Total hiring this year by VW in Chattanooga
* 170,000 — New production capacity at plant
* Go to www.aerotektn.com for production jobs
* Go to www.vwjobschattanooga.com for professional jobs
* July 2008 — Volkswagen picks Chattanooga for auto assembly plant and plans to hire 2,000 workers.
* October 2009 — VW opens hiring for first 1,200 production jobs.
* April 2011 — First customer Passat made in Chattanooga rolls off the assembly line.
* September 2011 — 10,000th Passat produced at plant.
* February 2012 — 50,000th Passat made at plant.
* March 2012 — VW announces plans for workforce to reach 3,500 by end of year.
Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagon Group of America, Hans-Herbert Jagla, the EVP of Human Resources at Volkswagon Chattanooga, Frank Fischer, the CEO of Volkswagon Chattanooga, and Governor Bill Haslam at a press conference today at Volkswagon's Chattanooga area plant to announce the planned addition of 1,000 new jobs in the 2012 year.
Volkswagen plans to hire 800 more workers by year’s end, rapidly ramping up its workforce to 3,500 at its Chattanooga assembly plant, officials were expected to announce today.
With the 200 new jobs VW plant officials said in January it would create, the factory will provide for a total of 1,000 more slots by the end of 2012 as it tries to keep up with demand for the fast-selling Passat.
“The Passat is selling so well,” said Frank Fischer, chief executive of VW’s Chattanooga operations. “We’ve had a hard time keeping up with orders.”
In addition, Fischer said VW will tweak the plant to bolster the number of vehicles it can produce to 170,000 a year, up 20,000 over its current capacity.
Hans-Herbert Jagla, executive vice president of human resources for VW in the city, said its local suppliers also will add jobs, though he didn’t immediately cite a number.
At the VW plant, 700 of the new jobs announced today will be in production while professional and skilled maintenance posts will make up the other 100, he said.
Hiring for the production jobs will start immediately by Aerotek, a company working with VW that provides contract employees for the automaker, Jagla said.
He said that as people are brought on by Aerotek, other previously hired workers will move over to become VW employees.
Officials said that while plans are to maintain two shifts a day, the plant will add Saturday production. Also, the plant will move to a four-day, 10-hour a day work schedule by around midyear, they said.
In addition, plant officials are cutting the amount to time it will take to produce vehicles. But since VW is adding employees, they won’t be working harder, they said. The moves will, in fact, cut overtime, officials said.
Gov. Bill Haslam and top Volkswagen Group of America officials were expected to be on hand today for the announcement.
Fischer said in a statement the new hiring is a clear sign the plant’s startup has been successful and that buyers are happy with the quality of the new midsize Passat.
But, he said, VW has been careful about addressing the hiring issue too quickly.
“We don’t want layoffs,” Fischer said.
Jonathan Browning, VW Group of America’s CEO, said in a statement that VW’s original $4 billion commitment to the U.S. market continues to grow.
“Quite plainly, we need more Passats to meet demand, and I’m glad that we can respond so quickly by adding staff in Chattanooga,” he said.
Officials said that the plant intends to keep producing just Passats.
However, the Financial Times Deutschland has reported that VW’s top management in Germany is weighing production of a sport utility vehicle in Chattanooga.
Dealers such as Dale Smith at Village Volkswagen in Chattanooga said a seven-passenger SUV or crossover built on the Passat’s platform would sell well.
“There’s a real need,” Smith said.
VW has a U.S. goal of nearly tripling sales to 1 million vehicles a year, including Audi, by 2018.
Late last year, the Passat was named the Motor Trend magazine Car of the Year.
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 ...