Two recent Volkswagen-related news items should be of more than passing interest to residents of Chattanooga and the surrounding area.
n First, the number of workers at the big new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga has surpassed the 1,700 mark. The company expects to add roughly 300 more by the end of 2011 and hundreds beyond that eventually. That means thousands of people earning good wages and boosting our economy as they purchase goods and services that generate other jobs and economic development.
n Second, Volkswagen of America recently reported that it had its best month in nearly eight years. Sales in April were up 23 percent compared with a year ago. The company sold almost 29,000 vehicles last month, and year-to-date sales are up 17 percent.
"We are gaining traction in the U.S. market," Jonathan Browning, chief executive of Volkswagen of America, said in the Times Free Press.
That can only bode well for Volkswagen's local production of Passats, which the company is scheduled to begin selling in the third quarter of this year.
The value of Volkswagen's mammoth investment in this area can scarcely be overstated. That investment will provide economic returns not only for the company's employees but for all of us.