published Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Business Briefs: Engineers salute VW plant

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    A Volkswagen assembly line employee works beneath a new Passat.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
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Engineers salute VW plant

The Volkswagen assembly plant in Chattanooga is one of eight finalists for this year's Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies.

The $1 billion plant, which began making Passat cars two years ago, was nominated for setting "a new standard for sustainable engineering achievement."

The VW facility in Chattanooga is the first LEED Platinum certified auto plant in the world. The winner will be announced at the "Academy Awards" of the engineering industry next Tuesday in Washington D.C.

Whirlpool raises dividend 25%

Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. said Tuesday it is raising its quarterly dividend 25 percent to 62.5 cents from 50 cents. Whirlpool said it increased the dividend payment because it expects to sustain its growth, including its oven and stove production facility in Cleveland, Tenn.

Whirlpool sells KitchenAid and Maytag products along with its namesake brand. The company has benefited from better pricing moves, productivity and benefits from cost and factory capacity cuts, steady hiring and near record-low mortgage rates that have encouraged more Americans to buy homes.

GM edges VW in quarterly sales

General Motors edged out fast-growing Volkswagen in first-quarter global sales as both companies chased Toyota for the world sales crown.

Last year, Toyota knocked GM out of the top spot after the Japanese automaker recovered from a 2011 earthquake and tsunami. In the first three months of 2013, GM sold 2.36 million cars and trucks worldwide, up 3.6 percent. That barely beat Volkswagen AG, whose sales rose 5 percent to 2.27 million vehicles.

VW warned of slowing sales later this year in markets outside North America and China, including Europe. Toyota will release its first-quarter global sales figures early next week.

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