The Volkswagen plant at Enterprise south has proven to be a good investment for the German automaker.
It's producing the award winning Passat, while creating thousands of new jobs here in the Tennessee Valley.
Now the Volkswagen C-E-O is talking about building a mid-size S-U-V, which could end up at Enterprise South also.
Volkswagen is considering the introduction of a new midsize SUV for the North American market, and its Entrprise South plant is a contender for building it.
CEO Martin Winterkorn told reporters in New York on Tuesday that Chattanooga would certainly be in the running but other locations would also be considered.
CHARLES WOOD, VP FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, C OF C "What we've been doing is trying to put everything in place, so that we're competitive for whatever the next project is...whether its an SUV or not."
The $1 billion-dollar Chattanooga plant is expected to build 180,000 Passats next year, while creating 3500 jobs. That doesn't count the hundreds more new jobs as suppliers moved in.
DR. BRUCE HITCHINSON, UTC ECONOMIC PROFESSOR "There's a reasonable number of workers in this area with the necessary skills and the necessary work ethic."
There's plenty of room at Enterprise South and hundreds more acres are already being cleared for possible expansion.
CHARLES WOOD "The last piece of that is making sure we're working to attract suppliers. The bigger we grow our supplier base here, the more efficient Volkswagen can be ..and the better opportunity we have for further expansions down the road."
Some may ask if the local work force is up to such a challenge.
DR. BRUCE HUTCHINSON "Its difficult for me to believe that they have a site around the country with the population base and accessibility to other areas of the country from Chattanooga..that would be nearly As accessible to their workers as the present V-W location."
The area seems poised to become an automotive capital now--or in the near future.
Local leaders may have to work hard to get a new plant here.
Volkswagen subsidiary Audi decided to take their manufacturing facility to Mexico last April.
The company says Mexico's wide array of trade agreements would help spur exports of those cars.