Machine 7, high quality air-cooled  restoration and performance parts

Nov 18 2009

65,000 Seek Work At VW To Build NMS (New Midsize Sedan)

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Pamela Glant of Chattanooga says she sought a production job with Volkswagen’s local auto assembly plant to improve her standard of living, writes  Chattanooga Times Free Press.

“I think I could do the work and I’d like to be tested,” she said.

Ms. Glant is one of 35,000 people who applied for the 1,200 production jobs over the past three weeks, the company said Monday.

About 30,000 others have applied for the 800 professional and skilled maintenance slots so far, according to VW.

“We are overwhelmed by the response and we are very satisfied with the result,” said Hans-Herbert Jagla, executive vice president of human resources for VW’s Chattanooga operations. “It gives us the confidence that we will be able to hire all the capable and flexible people we need to build our cars safely and with the highest quality.”

Late Sunday, VW closed a three-week application window for the production jobs. The plant is slated to start making cars in early 2011 and employ 2,000 people.

Ryan Rose, VW’s general manager of human resources in Chattanooga, said the next step for the production jobs is an assessment process.

“We ask all applicants to be patient, as we begin the hiring for the first positions in spring 2010 and will continue into 2011,” he said.

Applicants will be scheduled for an individual assessment, according to VW. This includes computer and behavioral testing as well as production simulation at a location near the Enterprise South industrial park plant site, VW officials said.

Staff Photo by Patrick Smith Workers continue construction on the training center at Volkswagen’s auto assembly plant at Enterprise South on Wednesday. Volkswagen plans to be operating the plant by 2011.

Then, Mr. Jagla said, there will be an interview, medical tests and a job offer.

“We need to build a hiring pool,” he said.

Production workers will start at $14.50 per hour, growing to $19.50 per hour over three years, officials said. The company offers a comprehensive benefits package, they said.

Mr. Jagla said first priority for hiring will be given to Chattanooga and Hamilton County residents.

Mr. Rose said a kind of lottery process will be used to determine the application evaluation sequence.

“Everyone who applies and meets the minimum qualifications will be given an equal chance,” Mr. Rose said.

VW has hired over 220 people so far for non-production jobs.

Aug 26 2009

VW lays out strategy for new U.S. models

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HERNDON, Va. – Volkswagen of America’s top executives outlined a strategy today to turn the European automaker’s money-losing U.S. arm into a pillar of its plans to surpass Toyota Motor Co. as the world’s largest – and most profitable – automaker writes DETROIT FREE PRESS.

With a goal of selling 800,000 VWs in the United States by 2018 – a threefold increase from this year’s levels – the automaker will add several new models designed specifically for American buyers, including a new sedan, a seven-seat sport utility and an updated version of its iconic Beetle.

And instead of importing most of its models from Europe, where currency fluctuations have left the company losing billions in North America, its high-volume vehicles will be built in the United States or Mexico, with parts from nearby suppliers.

VW is spending $1 billion to build a plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., that will launch a new midsize sedan in 2011. Stefan Jacoby, VW’s North American chief, said the model will be larger than the current Passat but cost less – targeting the Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu and Toyota Camry head-on.

“We want to be the No. 1 automaker globally,” Jacoby said today during a briefing at VW’s U.S. headquarters in Virginia. “Not everybody believes in this goal. We believe in this vision we have, and we are working very hard on its realization.”

VW executives said the company would refresh its entire lineup by 2011, and would target new parts of the market to boost its sales. That includes building some kind of seven-passenger SUV to compete against the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Chevrolet Traverse. VW has a large SUV, the Touraeg, that can carry a sticker price of more than $60,000.

Jacoby said the company also would bring a new Jetta and Beetle in the next couple of years with updates that reflect American tastes more than the current models. He said the company was making progress on improving quality, which has lagged Asian and American competitors in the past. He also said the company would consider smaller models, but would not chase parts of the market such as pickups where VW couldn’t stand out.

“It’s not our intention to make VW a boring brand,” he said.

Jacoby declined to say what else VW might build in Chattanooga besides the new sedan, but executives said the automaker would need to add models there and likely build new engine plant somewhere in North America to make its plans for growth.

Contact JUSTIN HYDE: 202-906-8204 or [email protected].

Aug 22 2009

VW Seeks to Turn Nostalgia Into Sales in U.S.

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Published by: NEW YORK TIMES August 21, 2009

FRANKFURT — It is nice to be an iconic automobile brand in the United States. But as Volkswagen knows better than most carmakers, it’s even nicer to actually sell cars.

While the rare old VW bus or vintage Beetle can be spotted chugging down the byways of America, nostalgia doesn’t pay the bills.

“You have California, the hippies, Woodstock and all the great memories Americans have for VW,” Stefan Jacoby, the chief executive of the Volkswagen Group of America, said in an interview. “But when it comes to the conversion — ‘Will I actually buy this car?’ — we lose our customers.”

Wes Brown, an auto industry analyst at Iceology, a market research firm in Los Angeles that has done work for the German company, puts it more bluntly. The vehicles look good enough, Mr. Brown said, but consumers “don’t know what the brand stands for.”

Mr. Jacoby is trying to change that. As baby boomers reminisce about the summer of Woodstock 40 years later, he is trying to devise a future for a brand in the largest automobile market in the world, at a time when many Americans associate VW more with the past than the present.

After nearly three decades of faint and failed attempts to remake itself in the American market, Volkswagen is striving to recapture some of that old magic without being trapped by it. A central part of the company’s effort is its new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Rather than exporting vehicles that fill niches in the United States, VW is angling to complement its commanding position in Europe and parts of Asia by increasing its share of the American market. The company aims to sell Americans a solid, midsize, made-in-Tennessee sedan — probably under the Jetta name — that will compete with the Japanese and American cars that millions of families use to shuttle children to soccer practice, go shopping or hit the road on recession-era vacations

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Aug 20 2009

America’s only air-cooled, rear engine car: The Chevrolet Corvair 1960-69

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Author’s 1967 Corvair Coupe restored

Odds are if you are under 40 yrs, you have never even heard of a Chevy Corvair as they stopped making them in 1969, writes Some 20-30 year old somethings think they are a Japanese car. If you were a kid in the mid to late 60’s, you probably know about them. You probably still love the body style, sporty and sleek, they are just cool looking. If you have never seen one, you will probably also agree with that observation. Even today’s tweenies (10-14 yrs) love them, especially the convertible! Corvairs are known as the “poor man’s” collectible car. They usually range from $1000 to $8000, over 1.5 million were made. Most are either on craigslist or Ebay. Parts for restoration are not an issue at all. Several places on the East and West Coast sell only corvair parts. There are plenty of books about them. There are probably still over 80,000 of them in the US.

Owning a Corvair is an experience. It usually is a love\hate relationship. You love the car when its running great and looking good, then, hating it when you buy a costly part and unable to install it because of rust.

The car is a time machine (well, any old car is) in that it makes one realize how far car technology has come in 40+ years. Until you sit and drive one, it is hard to differentiate the obvious and subtle differences. As a kid, I had always thought that the 60s cars were sophisticated machines. They were for their time, but driving a car made today (or since the 90s) and driving a Corvair is like night and day. The most noticeable item is the near all metal dash, more strength is needed to steer the car, thicker body metal, more chome. With older cars, you hear the engine, so they are more noisier. The Corvair was the economy car for Chevy, yet, it is as big as many of today’s cars! The Corvair is low to the ground, comes with either 2 or 4 carbs that need to be synchronized in air flow and idle\fuel mix. The engines are simple yet temperamental. Settings must be close to specifications or it will not run correctly, even for these more primitive engines. Another thing, as a Corvair owner, always carry some tools and a spare fan belt.

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