Chattanooga positioning plant for future VW work

Chattanooga positioning plant for future VW work

May 13th, 2011 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Chattanooga wasn't under consideration for Porsche's new North American headquarters, but economic developers hope the proximity of Porsche's planned facility may open the Volkswagen plant to more production opportunities.

"We're aggressively positioning the company for other VW and VW family lines" of vehicles, said J.Ed. Marston, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president of marketing.

Porsche, which is slated to become the 10th VW Group brand, said earlier this year that its executives are mulling North American production.

Porsche has no plants in North America. If Porsche used VW capacity in the region, that would mean either the Chattanooga or Puebla, Mexico, plants.

Aaron Bragman, an analyst for IHS Automotive, said VW will need to add more vehicles to production in North America to reach its sales goals.

But, he expected VW first would produce more VW brand vehicles such as a large crossover in North America. Audi production, too, is a possibility, he said, though it would have to hike sales.

Matthias Mueller, Porsche's CEO, told the German news magazine Focus in January that officials this year will discuss whether to start assembly in Asia or North America.

"The main thing is that the car has 'engineered by Porsche' on it. Where it is produced is no longer so important," he said.

Mark Drury, of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, declined to say if Tennessee pursued the Porsche headquarters project.