Volkswagen in the US

Home  \  General Chat  \  Volkswagen in the US

Looks like Chattanooga is on the short list for the new Volkswagen plant along with Michigan and Alabama. Volkswagen plans on making the final decision in July. This is very exciting for my little town, but we've been disappointed before by other manufacturers after being on their short lists as well so we'll have to wait and see what happens.

On the flip side of that...if they produce a German car in the United States...is it still a foreign car? Do you think they lose quality?

posted by  97Talonchik

From the way Toyota has been advertising the Tundra as an American built truck, I can't see it as a bad thing, but then again you are comparing a Japanese car to a German car. But I think the selling point for German cars is the engineering. It will still have the same engineering if it is built in the states, it will just be Americans that turn the wrenches.:2cents:

posted by  dvdrose18

Well VW has been making their cars in Mexico for quite a few years now and they just plain went down the gutter since then. I think it will be better here, and yes its still a foreign car. My civic is build in Canada for example, its still Japanese, not Canadian.

posted by  newyorker

Honda have/had a factory in Swindon in the UK and quality seemed to remain....Although there was some strange weather proofing going on on the underside of tyhe vehicles (a small niggle, but one that sticks out in my mind, lol)

posted by  Cliffy

Anyone think my car is British?

It's where the name came from if you ask me.

posted by  jedimario

This is where we have to ask ourselves what makes a car from a certain country.

I'm gonna say where the company is based is where that car is from.

Lots of car companies are setting up plants in the U.S., but quality should remain good (or maybe get better). Don't forget, you get what you pay for, and these plants pay really good.

posted by  chris_knows

Im curious to see whats going to happen to Jaguar and Land Rover now that they will be in India.

posted by  newyorker

Honestly, does it really matter anymore? I'm guessing the engineering is all still being done by the same people, and even the people that work the assembly lines just operate mechines. The cars won't change, they're selling to the same people as before, and the quality won't either. Production costs will still be much less than the big 3, because I'm betting these new VW plants will be filled with non-union workers.

posted by  giant016

VW used to have plant in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. The early cars there were indeed subpar compared to the cars coming from Germany, due to the difficulties of getting the plant functional. But, that wasn't the only reason it was closed finally in '88.

Who knows, maybe this time around it will be different for VW.

posted by  ChrisV

I think some people will see it as a plus...mainly the ones that are all about buying American. I sincerely hope they don't sacrifice quality for saving some Euros by this move, even though it does bring much needed jobs to the recession strickened states. I guess we will have to wait and see. I don't know how long it will take to get the first cars off the production line but I assume that will really answer the hard pressing questions.

posted by  97Talonchik

I dunno, my recent experience with my VW has been extremely subpar, quality-wise.

I had NO IDEA these cars were so f__kin high-maintenance.
I love driving it, but I hate spending 3 grand on the tranny because you cant repair it...you have to replace the entire unit.

VW sucks.

And if it's any consolation, being built in America....it will probably suck even moreso for that.

:mrgreen:

posted by  2JZ-GTE

So.... no good VW's since the 60's or whenever they started production in Mexico?

posted by  windsonian

Never said they were all bad, but ones with a German build origin certainly stand head and shoulders above the Mexican alternative. My buddy has a 2.0 Golf that is German built and the car is great, no problems ever. Another has a GTI that is Mexican built, and its rubbish. I think moving to the US is a good move for VW, but we gotta wait to be sure. Build quality on them is excelent, very well designed, very safe, fit and finish is excelent, but they are not dependable cars for the most part, hence why I never caught on to them, or any other European cars except for BMW which are fantastic I think in all respects. Great to drive, and they last a while too.

posted by  newyorker

The reasons foreign car companies are setting up in the US is not quality - these are business decisions based on tax laws, customs and tariff laws, need for updated facilities, taxpayer sponsored tax breaks (corporate welfare) and availability of labor. Most likely the reason VW is looking @ Chattanooga, Diamler Benz is building in Tuscaloosa, Al, etc is the cost of labor, utilities, corporate taxes, American import fees and tariffs, etc causes it to be more expensive to build the car in Germany then in the US. The weakening of the US dollar against the Euro helps this matter as well.

The next time you buy an American car, look @ the final assembly point - about 1/2 of GM's are built in Mexico or imported Daewoos from Korea

posted by  tbaxleyjr

A friend of mine would only own american cars for years. She feels it helps the US by giving americans work. The last car she bought was an eclipse. Before anyone could comment on her new Japanese car she said, "It was put together in the US."
I also recall when Toyota joined up with NASCAR their arguement was the camry they were racing was built in the US. So it wasn't "unamerican"
As far as quality goes I would imagine the plants are all ISO (International Standards or Operations) So if any difference, it would be un-noticed.

posted by  DBain

Might as well update on this. Things are looking good from what I've heard on the news, though this is similar to where we were with the Toyota plant they thought we were going to get...so no getting our hopes up. VW reps from Germany visited during our "Riverbend" festival to get an idea of the "quality of life" and a few days later they also took a tour of the building where you get construction permits.

It is reported that VW is looking for a site that is completely clear of vegetation and has a clear line of sight so when you get to the property, you can see how the land lies. Chattanooga was just approved a $1.25 million dollar grant for improvements at the possible future site of VW, where they have already begun clearing the land and are currently working on diverting some streams that run through the area.

posted by  97Talonchik

:clap: am old vwbuff but i only play with 60s an 70s strander bug gota love them now am restoring a 67 baja could use some help thx bug67 :oop all good bugs were last built in ger

posted by  bug 67

Tough question, i guess if an American company is manufacturing the cars then it makes it American

posted by  need4speed

Is Chinese food that's made in America American food? Just my :2cents:.

posted by  giant016

Yes, because we use REAL meat. :laughing:

posted by  97Talonchik

Cats are meat too.

posted by  giant016

It would just make them American Built.

Same with some Hondas being assembled in Canada, BMW in Tennessee (sp), VW in Brazil and Mexico.

I think what it comes down to is the quality of the parts AND the quality of the assembly. You cant have just 1/2 good and expect to build a good car. VW is known for shoddy electrics, actually a lot of German companies are, and I think that unless they fix the PARTS, the assembly point will have little impact on quality, but I'm sure thats not their main intention with this move.

posted by  newyorker

Oi wtf just happened?!!

posted by  fudge

I have a feeling that Bav deleted the post above yours (which was spam) and accidentally clicked yours too.

posted by  chris_knows

It wasn't even spam and was somehow relevant to the topic.
Anyway there's alot of chinese food in America which come from animals apart from chicken, pig, beef, lamb or fish. Shark fin soup anyone??:drool:

posted by  fudge

Very true - the main problem my parents had with their Mercedes C230 was electrical

posted by  tbaxleyjr

I live across town from Talon..

A car plant would be nice for Chattanooga since our legacy industrial economic base dried up several years - tourism such as the aquarium down here and the other attractions does not provide the type jobs which pay enough to buy houses and cars and has kept salaries in other industries/sectors driven low. Tourism, on the other hand has been good since it got our downtown area which was full of drug dealers and other forms or urban rot in the late 1980's cleaned up and policed and is now reasonably safe to visit at night.

in this area, we really need both types of industries to create a diverse economic base.


I would be interested in knowing what tax breaks the State of Tennessee and Hamilton county are offering to try get VW in here.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Apparently you have been to Coolidge park after dark, lol. Plus, yeah it's safer downtown because they knocked down the projects and most of those people moved into Hixson and Red Bank. You should see my old alma mater now. :doh:

posted by  97Talonchik

Where did you go to school?

You do have a point about Cooledge park at night (especially within past yr or so)

I haven't seen too many issues in Hixson at least where I live but do heard of interesting stories about some parts of Red Bank

posted by  tbaxleyjr

VOLKSWAGEN NEWS CONFERENCE UNDERWAY:clap:

A news conference is underway about the selection of Chattanooga for a new Volkswagen manufacturing plant. The news conference being held at the Hunter Museum with the Tennessee River as a backdrop.

Matt Kisber, the Tennessee Commissioner of Economic and Community Development opened the news conference. He said this is the most important event in his political tenure.

Kisber introduced Stefan Jacoby, the President and CEO of Volkswagen of America.

Applause broke out as Jacoby made the first public statement "Volkswagen of America is building it's next plant in Chattanooga."

Next he said, "Why?"

In answering his own question, he thanked the states of Michigan and Alabama for their interest.

"Something in our gut, or maybe in our heart... looking across the mountains and across the rivers, the intangible suddenly became very tangible. This is America at its best," said Jacoby.

He said with the new facility, they expect to triple their sales in the United States. He admitted that, like in a marriage, there will be good times and bad times in carrying out this aggressive plan.

Jacoby praised business and government leaders for "visionary leadership" that compliments that of Volkswagen. He specifically named Governer Bredesen, Senators Corker, Alexander, Congressman Wamp and Mayors Littlefield and Ramsey.

Jacoby ended by saying, "We are looking forward to a longterm partnership and marriage with Chattanooga and Tennessee."

Governer Bredesen then took the podium saying, "Danke schön" which mean "thank you" in German.

"They have their backs (to the audience) right now, but I wish you could see the smiles on Mayors Littlefield's and Ramsey's face right now," joked the Govorner as he praised their hard work.

The Governor said that the area "had a mission" and set about accomplishing that mission.

"I wish Washington would take note of what Chattanooga did," he added to another round of applause.

Hamilton County Mayor Ramsey took the podium saying, "They've given me two minutes tell you about 15 minutes of my life.... What a good day, what a good day," he said with emotion.

Mayor Ramsey's grandchildren were in the audience. He spoke of the drams he had for his grandchildren and thanked Jacoby "for making my dreams come true."

Mayor Littlefield said he told Jacoby that he had promised his wife a new Volkwagen if they decided to locate their plant here.

He said Mayor Ramsey suggested combining normally "highly-competitive" city and county workforces to prepare the Enterprise South site.

We're been through the rodeo before," said Senator Bob Corker. "I don't know of a greater event in this community in my lifetime."

"I'm happy for our citizens, our children and our grandchildren," said Sen. Corker. "But there is no one that I am happier for today than Claude Ramsey. I'm so glad this happened under his watch."

Senator Lamar Alexander said that with today's announcement, he expects Tennessee to become the number one state in the nation for automotive jobs.

Congressman Wamp joked how, among all the happy people, is Nelson Bowers, the owner of a local Volkswagen dealership.

Congressman Wamp said that for each of the 2,000 jobs created at the Volkswagen plant, we should expect an additional seven "support jobs."

"That's 14,000 jobs," he said. ""It was just a matter of time before a major auto manufacturer decided to locate at Enterprise South - and our time has arrived."

posted by  97Talonchik

sounds like a fine place to live and work.

Just a little curious as to where they got there numbers from, but it is a very interesting concept. Is it because of an ability to cut costs, or is it also a marketing gimick?


I wonder how long it is before you actualy see these jobs. how long before the plant is up and running. Sure, there will be a few construction jobs right away, and some "support jobs," but with the dollar as weak as it is right now, are locals going to be hurting for the next 5 years before they see a return on their "investment". Whose pocket is that $1.25 million grant comming from, and what is going to pay for the accompanying expansion of government. Not to be a pessimist, but I just looked at my paycheck the other day and realized that more than 20% of it was eaten before I even got it. I would not be too happy to find that it was given to VW to build a new plant.

posted by  dvdrose18

This area is beautiful. I would die without the mountains to look at.

posted by  97Talonchik

The $1.25 million was committed by the State of Tennessee back toward the end of June - the investment is expenditure of our state tax dollars. I don't know what tax breaks were given by the City and County on top of the State.

This $1,25 million will offset some infrastructure work which needs to be done before building a car plant.
Mercedes did a good job with some of their investments in and around Tuscaloosa AL (I noticed when going with my daughter to University of Alabama for orientation last month)

Plant is supposed to be operational around 2011

People consider this an investment since other spending will generate enough tax dollars to more than offset the investment.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

I grew up outside of Knoxville over in Blount County between Wildwood and Walland. I enjoyed mountains. Before being transferred to Chattanooga, I lived between Johnson City and Kingsport TN and really enjoyed the mountains in that area and in the surrounding Virginia and North Carolina areas.

Your pics from Mount Hood last year made me miss Upper East TN

I'll miss visits to Western North Carolina after moving my oldest daughter and her husband (the one a couple of yrs younger than 97Talonchik) to Tuscaloosa next week - yes both daughters will be in Tuscaloosa studying various programs @ University of Alabama. Tough on a University of Tennessee Alum

posted by  tbaxleyjr

So it was a state thing, which I guess is reasonable as most of the state will see the benefits of the plant. Somehow I assumed it was federal money.
I guess I just have a problem with government giving away money, but I assume there was some form of ballot or something before they agreed to spend the money.
2011 is quite quick compared to some of the stuff that has dragging on around here, but I guess the sooner it is done the sooner they turn a profit so there is more of a push to get it done.

posted by  dvdrose18

Yes, the site is pretty much ready. At the moment, they are working on permits from the EPA to re-route some small streams that run through the area and also clearing out some trees. VW wanted a clear view of the plant from the street. Other than that, they already have the interstate private exit built (the city did that after losing the Toyota plant for that reason). They also already have railways running through the site (which was another requirement of VW).

Further, they mentioned the possibility of putting a smaller facility in the Huntsville area and running a railway between the two. I guess we'll see what happens here in the next few years, but this could be good news for that area.

posted by  97Talonchik

Your Message