Volkswagen prepares to ramp up production - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Volkswagen prepares to ramp up production

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant is approaching another milestone.

At first, about a hundred Passats have rolled off the assembly line each day, now, they're up to about a 150.

Soon more than 400 Passats will roll off the line in Chattanooga each day, as workers prepare to ramp up production.

As progress continues here at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant, nearly 4,000 cars have been built, hundreds ready to ship across the country. It's all part of the company's plan to sell 1 million cars by 2018.

One by one, the new 2011 Passats make their way onto train cars ready to be received by dealerships nationwide.

"Each dealership gets about two vehicles to show customers and test drive," says Frank Fischer, Chairman and CEO of Volkswagen of America.

Small numbers now, all to generate buzz as the Passat nears its nationwide sales launch.

So far, VW builds about 100 of these per day in the billion dollar plant, but last week as many as 140 made their way down the assembly line in one day.

We are told every fit and finish is closely examined by management as quality is of the utmost importance.

"It is the key of our success in Chattanooga. From the beginning… from the first car… to the right quality," says Andreas Line, Director of Quality at Volkswagen Chattanooga.

VW is coming off a strong June sales month with nearly 30,000 new cars on the road.

The goal: sell one million cars by 2018.

The steps to get there won't be easy, but pushing hard for high marks early on has long term benefits.

Right now VW is working out the kinks from the new plant before starting its true ramp phase.

So far the results make the grade.

"It is stress on the system because it is a lot of problem solving, but we are very satisfied," says Fischer.

And now the hope is customer satisfaction will be next.

So far Volkswagen has held a strong customer retention base, and according the American Customer Satisfaction Index, in the last two years, VW has placed well above or near the total industry scores.

Some say it boils down to good management, and good people.

"Part of our strategy is hands on activity. The management team spends a lot of time on the floor supporting the team to confirm what is really going on," says Don Jackson, President of Manufacturing for Volkswagen Chattanooga.



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