The promise of the new CrossBlue being built in Chattanooga brings with it the promise of new jobs not only at the VW plant, but also area auto supply companies.

A new supply plant in McMinn County officially opened its doors Tuesday. The Adler Pelzer Group facility sits just off Exit 52 on I-75 in Athens. The auto supplier group already employs more than 120 people. As demand grows from auto makers like Volkswagen, that number is expected to grow to at two hundred and twenty. VW leadership says it is all a part of the 'ripple effect' that comes with expansion.

Auto supplier Adler Pelzer Group debuted its brand new, 185,000 square foot plant in Athens with much fanfare.

"This going to be the number one facility, the benchmark facility for the company worldwide," says Adler Pelzer's COO John Pendleton.

The plant is expected to crank out $100 million worth of product every year. The company makes light-weight car insulation for car makers like Ford, Toyota, Mercedes and Volkswagen.

Management says its decision to build in Athens is strategic, as they anticipated Chattanooga would build VW's new SUV.

"We will expand, based on the SUV vehicle over the next few years but also our other customers are served from here. It's in such a great position," says Pendleton.

"We're very lucky to have Volkswagen as a customer and be so very close to the plant down in Chattanooga," says plant manager, Eric Weiss.

Weiss says as Volkswagen production ramps up, so will the number of jobs at his plant.

"We're very excited about the SUV coming out of Chattanooga and it should be great for the community," says Weiss.

It is also a win for Volkswagen.

"It is an exciting time for Volkswagen to have a supplier located close within our vicinity. It's one our strategic goals as far as to have suppliers as close as possible," says Eric Retzlaff.

Eric Retzlaff is a supplier quality manager for VW. He says having suppliers close to the Chattanooga plant results in a better product.


"It's a relationship that we have that we can respond quickly to the customer needs. If there's a concern with a parts issue, we're able to react very quickly and work a supplier to resolve those issues."

Most importantly, Retzlaff is happy to see the 'VW ripple effect' taking place.

"One job created at a supplier continues that ripple effect throughout the area and the community."

The plant opened in February with just 27 people employed. Adler Pelzer says it is always hiring. For those interested in job openings, you can pick up an application at the Career Center in Athens.