More good news at VW

More good news at VW

March 23rd, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

It was only weeks ago that Volkswagen announced it would be adding 200 more employees at its billion-dollar assembly plant at Enterprise South industrial park. That brought the total workforce at the plant to about 2,700 - 700 more jobs than were originally projected.

But the good news at VW keeps coming.

Owing to the popularity of Volkswagen's big-selling Passat, the company now says it plans to hire an additional 800 workers by the end of 2012.

That will bring total employment there to an astounding 3,500 - vastly more than the early estimate. Local suppliers are expected to add an unspecified number of jobs, as well.

Moreover, company officials said, production capacity is going to rise from 150,000 vehicles per year to 170,000.

It obviously didn't hurt that the Passat was recently named Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year, raising the profile not only of the vehicle but of Chattanooga as well.

Just as encouraging, there has been frequent discussion of the possibility that VW will add production of another vehicle - possibly an SUV - in Chattanooga. That prospect is far from certain, but obviously it would create new benefits not only for Volkswagen's local employees but for our whole region, as more dollars circulate through the economy.

That's not a one-way street, though. Chattanooga workers can take pride in the excellent cars they are turning out at the plant. That good work can only enhance the area's reputation.

Chattanooga's and Hamilton County's economic development efforts - which drew VW here in 2008 - are paying off in big ways, whose full extent is yet unknown.