July 8, 2008
Sources Say Both Alabama and Tennessee in Volkswagen Plans
More than one source has now told Southern Business & Development and SouthernAutoCorridor.com that Volkswagen officials have recommended a site off Interstate 65 in Limestone County, Ala. for the German automaker's first U.S. plant in 20 years. The recommendation is subject to approval by VW directors on July 15. The site is located on Greenbrier Road on land recently annexed into the city of Huntsville, Ala. The property is also located directly across Interstate 65 from a TVA certified megasite, which has not been annexed into the city of Huntsville. More specifically, the site is just north of the intersection of I-65 and I-565, between I-65 and County Road 71. Our sources have also informed us that the Alabama Department of Transportation is building a new interchange on I-65, widening Greenbrier Road to five lanes and will carve out a new service road to the north to Brownsferry Road.
SB&D and SouthernAutoCorridor.com have also learned that a major project involving Volkswagen will also be built at the Enterprise South Industrial Park, located near Chattanooga, Tenn. The project is believed to be the automaker's engine and drive train facility. Norfolk Southern operates a main railroad line that runs from the Enterprise South site to the north Alabama property off Greenbrier Road in Huntsville.
In the summer of 2007 we were told by more than one source that the Volkswagen project is actually two projects, an assembly plant and an engine plant. Our sources now look to be right on target. During Volkswagen’s site search, the automaker looked at sites in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. Look for an official announcement by Volkswagen next week.
Chrysler Shutting Down St. Louis Plant
Chrysler LLC announced on June 30 it will close its St. Louis South minivan plant at the end of October. The privately-held automaker also announced it is cutting a shift at another St. Louis assembly plant that makes pickup trucks. The closure drops the number of major auto assembly plants in the Southern Automotive Corridor to 19, the lowest number of facilities since the early 1980s. Approximately 2,400 workers will lose their jobs in Missouri as a result of Chrysler's efforts to reduce manufacturing capacity.