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Hankster

Could Volkswagen be in Chattanooga's Future?

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I read today that Volkswagon plans to announce no later than June whether or not they will build an assembly plant in the US. With the cheap dollar and the soaring Euro, I would be shocked if they said no. Could this be theProject Pinetree that been rumored for quite some time? If VW does announce they will build a plant here, I'm sure Chattanooga will try extra hard to land it. The Toyota project showcased to the auto world more than ever that Enterprise South is one of the best sites in the nation for an auto plant. Let's hope we get another chance.

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I hope so!!! :)

The Enterprise South site should be a strong contender out of the gate since the State of Tennessee and the City of Chattanooga has had quite a bit of experience and success with creating attractive marketing and incentive packages for the site.

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Chattanooga also has something lots of other states can't just give away... water. After this summer/fall that's no small consideration. We've been reading (with more than a small dose of envy) about your 5.8 billion gallons of water running each day through town.

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^ Thats a very good point. Just a few months ago I doubt many people would have ever thought that water would be an asset for sites in the Southeastern United States. Weird how quickly things change.

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I read today that Volkswagon plans to announce no later than June whether or not they will build an assembly plant in the US. With the cheap dollar and the soaring Euro, I would be shocked if they said no. Could this be theProject Pinetree that been rumored for quite some time? If VW does announce they will build a plant here, I'm sure Chattanooga will try extra hard to land it. The Toyota project showcased to the auto world more than ever that Enterprise South is one of the best sites in the nation for an auto plant. Let's hope we get another chance.

Southern Business and Development's summer 2007 issue states that VW/Audi visited South Carolina and Alabama. So they are looking, again. As I've mentioned many times Project Pinetree is still out there.

Winding Road (www.windingroad.com an excellent electronic car/driver magazine) also states the VW has reached 90% capacity in its existing production facilities.

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Here is the latest from Autonews.com

VW wants a "big" plant open in US by 2011, they are believed to be considering sites of 1000 acres or more.

The Carolinas and Gerogia are in the lead.

*NC has 2 sites, one is 1688 acres near Rocky Mount on I-95 (Short Drive to new N America HQ in Herndon, VA Also puts them near other German Suppliers for BMW and Mercedes)

*Anderson, SC is also being eyed.

No mention of Enterprise South

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Here is the latest from Autonews.com

VW wants a "big" plant open in US by 2011, they are believed to be considering sites of 1000 acres or more.

The Carolinas and Gerogia are in the lead.

*NC has 2 sites, one is 1688 acres near Rocky Mount on I-95 (Short Drive to new N America HQ in Herndon, VA Also puts them near other German Suppliers for BMW and Mercedes)

*Anderson, SC is also being eyed.

No mention of Enterprise South

There was no mention of Tupelo, MS, the town which recently landed the Toyota plant ahead of Chattanooga and Marion, AR, until right before the decision was made. Not being mentioned now just might be a good thing.

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Mayor Littlefield in his his state of the city address yesterday, predicted that a big announcement concerning the Enterprise South megasite would be made in the near future. Mmmmm. I wonder what that could be? I'm not saying its VW, but the major did sound positive that some type of announcement would be forthcoming.

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Lets hope it is VW. That would be huge for Chattanooga and TN.

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According to Motor Trend, Volkswagen's been making a lot of noise about its coming U.S. production plant lately, and the latest boast is that the factory will have an approximate vehicle output of 250,000 cars. VW expected to begin manufacturing both VW and Audi models beginning in 2010 or 2011, according to a recent report in Automotive News.

A location for the new American factory will reportedly be decided upon in June and will require roughly 1000 to 2000 employees. Scheduled for its first production run will be a newly-developed Passat replacement utilizing the latest VW/Audi modular architecture. This will definitely be a plum for the city that gets it.

Some speculation is that Anderson, SC is the frontrunner, with a site near Savannah, GA also in the running. I remember that the final site selection for Toyota in Tupelo, MS came as a surprise to many and that site wasn't even mentioned as a likely choice until near the end. We'll just have to see. Hopefully, we'll start hearing Enterprise South as a possible candidate before too long.

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I would love to see something like this come to northeast Tennessee. There are just no good jobs up here unless you are a doctor or attorney. :(

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I would love to see something like this come to northeast Tennessee. There are just no good jobs up here unless you are a doctor or attorney. :(

I agree. Upper East Tennessee would benefit greatly from a project like this. The auto industry has invested heavily in the Knoxville industry. Back in the 80's I worked at the Rogerville, TN (not too far from you) TRW steering gear plant that employed over 600 high paying jobs. Have any of those investments found there way into your area of late?

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According to Motor Trend, Volkswagen's been making a lot of noise about its coming U.S. production plant lately, and the latest boast is that the factory will have an approximate vehicle output of 250,000 cars. VW expected to begin manufacturing both VW and Audi models beginning in 2010 or 2011, according to a recent report in Automotive News.

A location for the new American factory will reportedly be decided upon in June and will require roughly 1000 to 2000 employees. Scheduled for its first production run will be a newly-developed Passat replacement utilizing the latest VW/Audi modular architecture. This will definitely be a plum for the city that gets it.

Some speculation is that Anderson, SC is the frontrunner, with a site near Savannah, GA also in the running. I remember that the final site selection for Toyota in Tupelo, MS came as a surprise to many and that site wasn't even mentioned as a likely choice until near the end. We'll just have to see. Hopefully, we'll start hearing Enterprise South as a possible candidate before too long.

The Winter 2008 issue of Southern Business & Development, mentions that VW has been seen visiting sites in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and most recently Texas.

Seems an though they are really taking their time and shopping around.

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The Winter 2008 issue of Southern Business & Development, mentions that VW has been seen visiting sites in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and most recently Texas.

Seems an though they are really taking their time and shopping around.

Wow! That's what I call a wide geographical range. Initially, it seemed all they were looking into was near the East Coast. This seems to indicate they really are interested in areas farther inland. I consider this news positive for Chattanooga.

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Volkswagen has announced it has narrowed down it's site list for its next US assembly plants to three states according to the Jackson Sun. Those states are Tennessee, Alabama, and Michigan. No word on which site in Tennessee might be in the running, of course Enterpise South would probably be the most likely contender, with either mega-site in West Tennessee also being options. Clarksville has a mega-site as well I believe, but I never hear it mentioned as a contender for auto assembly plants, or hardly at all for that matter.

I would have to wager that Tennessee and Alabama are the top contenders off the list due to lower operating costs, right to work laws, and other business friendly aspects. Michigan might suprise us though if they offer the right incentives to VW.

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The Chattanooga Times Free Press has an article also. The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and State Economic Officials so far have declined to comment.

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The Chattanooga Times Free Press has an article also. The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and State Economic Officials so far have declined to comment.

The rumors are rampant the the Tennessee site being considered is indeed Enterprise South. Earlier, all the speculation was for a plant near the Atlantic coast. Now, it looks like none of those sites are being considered at all. I hope the wait won't be too long, and here we go again. I can't help but remember that the mayor stated in his state of the city address that a big announcement concerning Enterprise South would be coming soon. I wondered if it could be VW then. Now, I have to be wondering even more.

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Several Automotive business analysts (Southern Business & Development among them) state that TN is the favored state, and that Enterprise South is probably the most favored site in TN, because of labor availability. However, they state that Alabama will be tough competition, German suppliers are already there for Mercedes. Almost everyone says that Michigan is a long shot, because of the labor unions but maybe the right company could come in and shake things up, not to mention the VW headquarters just left MI.

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Just read in the Clarksville thread that the Tennessean is reporting that Clarksville mega-site is also being looked at along with Chattanooga, although Chattanooga is the favored site. The Stanton site according to the Haywood County mayor is not in the running, and there was not mention of the West Tennessee Auto Site in Crockett County - so whether or not it is potentially in the mix is unclear, but it appears they are looking for sites with a more eastward transportation orientation.

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Just read in the Clarksville thread that the Tennessean is reporting that Clarksville mega-site is also being looked at along with Chattanooga, although Chattanooga is the favored site. The Stanton site according to the Haywood County mayor is not in the running, and there was not mention of the West Tennessee Auto Site in Crockett County - so whether or not it is potentially in the mix is unclear, but it appears they are looking for sites with a more eastward transportation orientation.

Thanks for the info. I'm sure that all the sites in Tennessee mentioned above are great sites for automobile assembly plants. The thing I think may be most important is the availability of labor and training. Chattanooga is easily the largest population center being considered and has taken significant steps in setting up training programs with area universities. The Chattanooga site has been in the running for automotive assembly projects for several years, and has time to correct some of the shortcomings that have been pointed out earlier. Chattanooga, I believe, has paid their dues and is ready this time. Of course, I hope Chattanooga is selected, but would love to see Clarksville site chosen if Chattanooga is not.

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The TVA megasite between Huntsville and Athens(Limestone County, AL) will be the one to beat, The Chattanooga site has a chance, they both have advantages

the other doesn't. The population in the Huntsville area that this plant would pull from is over 500,000. It will be tough choice for VW, which state can pony up the most incentives?

Limestone-I-65-Hwy31Mega-Si32707.gif

2010 acres

Internet Connection DSL

Telecommunications Bellsouth

Distance to Major Interstate I-65, adjacent

Distance to Major Highway Hwy 72, 7 miles, Hwy 31 adjacent

Distance to Major Commercial Airport 8 miles, Huntsville International, Decatur's Pryor Field adjacent

Distance to Port 6-10 miles ,Decatur

Rail Access yes

Rail Line Norfolk Southern

and these bad boys land daily at Huntsville International bringing and shipping cargo to Europe, some of that being Mercedes Benz parts for the plant in Alabama

2204622945_10fbab3229_o.jpg

photo courtesy of Lexy

In any case it will be a tough fight and says that both states have very positive attributes.

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There is no question that the Limestone site is a serious contender. However, that physical site has no advantage over the Enterprise South site which has been described as one of the finest automotive assembly sites in the country by Southern Business and Development. Here's a quote from a February 2007 article from that magazine:

"Let's just say, we were educated even further about the potential of Enterprise South as a home for an automaker. We were not only impressed, we were blown away. And I must write this: I know plenty of economic developers in the South, literally hundreds of them. Charlie Giffen is simply one of those, but he has never blown smoke at me in 15 years, When he told us, "I would be shocked if an automaker didn't pick this site at some point," well, I had to listen and take that into account."

Here's some stats concerning the Enterprise South site.

Site Information

Enterprise South is a top-tier industrial park that offers significant strategic business advantages. Being at Enterprise South gives your company access to powerful technology and research assets, a skilled labor pool, and a first-rate quality of life coupled with an affordable cost of living:

Top 10 Site Features

* 1,600-acre developable acres surrounded by a 2,800-acre buffer to the east and 128-acre buffer to the west. When complete, Enterprise South will include 3,000 developable acres while retaining both buffers. Fast Fact: Enterprise South Industrial Park Aerial Photos

o Mega Site Certified by McCallum Sweeney

o Location: 12 miles northeast of downtown Chattanooga

o Zoned: Heavy Manufacturing

* Multi-modal Transportation Fast Fact: Enterprise South Industrial Park Aerial Photos

o Interstate

+ I-75 adjacent to site (two Interchanges serve the site)

+ I-24 - 7 miles from site

+ I-59 - 25 miles from site

o Air Service

+ Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport - 4.5 miles from site

o Dual Rail Capacity

+ CSX

+ Norfolk Southern

* Proximity to Major Commercial Centers and Markets

o 80% of the U.S. population is within a two-day drive.

o Location in the SE Growth Corridor:

+ Atlanta, GA: 120 miles

+ Knoxville, TN: 100 miles

+ Nashville, TN: 130 miles

+ Birmingham, AL: 150 miles

* Industrial-grade Infrastructure Fast Fact: Download the ESIP Site Sheet PDF file

o Water - 30 MGD

o Electricity - 161kV to 12kV

o Sewers - minimum of 1.0 MGD; expandable

o Natural Gas - minimum of 83,000 CFH; expandable to 500,000 CFH

* Highly Skilled Workforce Fast Fact: Download the ESIP Site Sheet PDF file

o Labor pool: Over 1 million people (MSA Population: 496,854)

o Strong regional manufacturing expertise and trades

o Chattanooga State Technical Community College provides customized state training programs (6 miles from site).

o University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is 11 miles from the site and there are 7 additional institutions of higher education within a 50-mile radius.

o TVA employs 3,000+ engineers

o UTC SimCenter offers a Ph.D. in Computational Simulation

* Proximity to Major National Research and Technology Centers

o Supercomputer access - direct connection between University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Supercomputing Center available to approved industry users

o Four national R&D centers within 100 miles for cooperative work with industry:

+ University of Tennessee SimCenter at Chattanooga (Chattanooga, TN): 6 miles

+ Oak Ridge National Labortories (Oak Ridge, TN): 109 miles

+ NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center (Huntsville, AL): 100 miles

+ Redstone Army Arsenal (Huntsville, AL): 100 miles

+ Arnold Engineer Development Corp. (Tullahoma, TN): 80 miles

* Owned by City and County

o Property under 100% control & ownership

* Strong State and Federal Support

o The first Certified Automotive Megasite in Tennessee

o State and federal financial support

o Active federal participation and support in development by:

+ Congressman Zach Wamp

+ Senator Bob Corker

+ Senator Lamar Alexander

* Active State Support

o Governor Phil Bredesen

o Commissioner Matt Kisber - Department of Economic and Community Development

o Commissioner Gerald Nicely - Department of Transportation

For even more information, here's a link the the Enterprise South website:

Enterprise South Website

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^ I think if Commisioner Kisber (TECD) can land this plant without giving away the state it will happen; he has had a built a terrific record under the Bredesen Administration in bringing jobs, industries, and corporate offices/hqs to the state over the last 6 years. Tennessee actually has had a very good run of gaining new jobs and industries, while not having landed the much sought after auto plant - it does only seem like a matter of time before that happens at Enterprise South.

I also think Hank's post illustrates how strong a site Enterprise South is, esp. in infrastructure development terms of the immediate and surrounding region. Both the Limestone or Chattanooga sites have their strong points and strong state ECD programs, so it will be interesting to see how things pan out.

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Nice to see the Chatty site using places in Huntsville as assets.

On the surface most things on the list could go either way with Chattanooga

having advantage in the interstate system while Huntsville has the advantage in air facilities and docks(Decatur)

Infrastructure slightly to Chattanooga because most of it is in place, but does it fit VW's requirements?

Education edge goes to Huntsville with easily over 20,000 engineers in the area.

http://www.al.com/business/birminghamnews/....xml&coll=2

Volkswagen might find the region attractive because of a collection of high-tech companies in Huntsville and a highly skilled work force, said Michael Randle, editor and publisher of Birmingham-based Southern Business and Development magazine and a Web site, www.southernautocorridor.com.

"The labor shed up there is incredibly talented because of the cluster of companies they have," he said. "It's just a happening place with incredible deals, and companies like to get on the bandwagon."

In addition, Toyota has done well with its engine assembly plant in Huntsville, Randle said. The facility employs about 1,000 people.

"Toyota has proven that Huntsville in general can draw all the way to Nashville in terms of labor," he said.

Volkswagen said last week it had narrowed its site search for a potential U.S. factory to Alabama, Tennessee and Michigan. Since then, analysts have zeroed in on TVA-certified megasites in Alabama and Tennessee as likely contenders.

Besides the TVA site near Athens, other such sites include those near Chattanooga and Clarksville, Tenn. Certification means the sites have met certain criteria, including those for access, utilities and work force.

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Enterprise South has received Foreign Trade Zone Status, along with Bonny Oaks Industrial and Office Park, the JIT Terminal on Manufacturers Road and the Kenco facility on Polymer Drive. Sites in Bradley and Marion counties near by also received this status. Prior to these expansions Hamilton County had 230 acres in Centre South Riverport designated as an FTZ.

The Chattanooga Chamber states this may help recruit VW or another that would have to import parts.

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