Chattanooga Board Approves VW Incentives

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) – Ron Harr, the Chattanooga Chamber CEO, says, "It’s a sizeable incentive package, and we wouldn’t have gotten the project without it."

However, the incentive package just approved by the City Industrial Development Board is actually smaller than the one offered six years when Volkswagen came to town, even though just as many jobs were created.

The city and county agreed to give the German automaker more than $52 million dollars, split evenly.

The state is giving more than $165 million in grants, plus another $12 million for training workers.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, says, "The general assembly was obviously not in session and couldn’t meet like our legislative bodies. The state won’t be paying any money until 2015, and we’re confident they’ll step up and do the right thing."

And now we know that VW wants to build a derivative off this SUV model.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke says, "It makes it more likely now right that we get instead of the 3 seater CrossBlue, now at one moment there will probably be a two seater. They’re really working to do that quickly."

That’s why VW is allowing room to grow.

Mayor Berke adds, "They’ve trusted people in the South before to make their cars.  They’ve never before relied on us to design the car of the future.  That’s a big deal."

Chattanooga city leaders tell us they recognize the importance of this partnership.

That’s why they’re pitching in for a $12 million welcome center.

Mayor Berke adds, "What we want to do is integrate the VW brand and the Chattanooga brand even more. We want to give them the opportunity to reach a North American audience. They’re at 3 percent market share in North America. They’re at 20 percent in China."

While VW focuses on that, Chattanooga is focusing on another big figure, the 3,600 new indirect jobs for suppliers, in addition to the new 2,000 direct jobs.

Chattanooga’s Industrial Development Board also requested minority and women hiring reports on the VW project at Thursday’s meeting.

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