Business Briefcase: VW global sales sets new mark

Business Briefcase: VW global sales sets new mark

April 15th, 2012 by Mike Pare and Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

VW global sales sets new mark

Volkswagen Group's first-quarter deliveries exceeded 2 million vehicles for the first time, according to the German automaker.

The company delivered 2.16 million vehicles in the period, up 9.6 percent from a year ago. March figures rose 12.5 percent to 862,700 units, the company reported.

"We produced another strong performance in North America, China and Russia. However, uncertainty continues, particularly in the markets in Western Europe," said Christian Klingler, the group's board member for sales.

Last month, Volkswagen sold more than 10,000 of its Chattanooga-made Passats.

Whiskey rocks in Chattanooga

Chattanooga will get its own brand of whiskey Monday, and the new drink already is gaining some national attention.

The Chattanooga Whiskey Co., started by Joe Ledbetter and Tim Piersant, debuted its new 1816 Reserve whiskey over the weekend. The new whiskey brand should be on Tennessee liquor store shelves this week. Ahead of the product introduction, Ledbetter was quoted last week in The New York Times' Dining and Wine section talking about the latest trend among some drinkers to use specialty stones, instead of ice, to cool their whiskey. Since the stones, or disks, don't melt, the whiskey is not diluted.

"There's a huge younger generation who don't see whiskey as an old man's drink; they see it as the new craft beer, and that's the group just on the edge of buying whiskey disks really consistently," Ledbetter told The New York Times.

Whether chilled by ice or disks, the new whiskey brand won't be made in Chattanooga, at least for a while, despite its name. It's currently illegal to distill liquor in Chattanooga, although Ledbetter and Piersant hope to change that.

For now, Chattanooga Whiskey is made by Lawrenceburg Distillers in Indiana and will be sold through Athens Distributing Co.

VW job search promotes city

Gov. Bill Haslam said he was "disappointed" that Volkswagen of America is having to search beyond Chattanooga to fill many of the technical jobs at its Chattanooga plant. But in its national appeal for maintenance technicians, manufacturing engineers and logistics supervisors, VW is touting the virtues of the Scenic City. Volkswagen's national print and online advertising campaign makes Chattanooga a selling point, calling it "one of America's most up-and-coming towns."

Delta Dental tops 1 million

Delta Dental of Tennessee announced last week it has reached a significant milestone, providing dental benefits to more than 1 million Tennesseans.

In the past five years, Delta Dental has grown from 1,000 employer group plans to more than 2,000 employer groups. Delta Dental was chartered 47 years ago and expanded from its base of employer-paid plans to also include employee-paid coverage. Five years ago, the company also introduced individual plans.

In addition to its one million members, Delta Dental manages TennDent, the dental benefits administrator for more than 730,000 children on TennCare.