Bartow welcomes Volkswagen dealer convoy
by Matt Shinall
Sep 24, 2010 | 2148 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A crowd gathered Thursday morning on the Interstate 75 overpass at Main Street in Cartersville to welcome northbound Volkswagen dealers heading to Chattanooga, Tenn., to tour a new assembly plant. Matt Shinall/The Daily Tribune News
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Welcoming parties converged on interstate overpasses in Cartersville and Adairsville Thursday morning to make their presence known before a parade of Volkswagen dealers heading north on Interstate 75.

More than 700 2011 VW Jettas carried dealers from across North America from the annual dealers' conference in Atlanta to Chattanooga, Tenn., where they would tour the new VW plant.

Organized by the Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development, the welcoming committees were formed to let VW know about Bartow County's location and resources for expanding industry.

"I think it's important for all of those who were in that caravan to know that Bartow County appreciates their presence even though it's not in Georgia. It's pretty close to Georgia and we certainly want to make them aware that Bartow County is a good economic development choice for any of their suppliers, or for workers and we're here to support them," said Connie Smith, Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce 2010 chairman of the board.

The inspiration behind such a gathering is in making Bartow County stand out to developers looking to build a production facility for the supply of the new VW facility expected to begin production next year on VW's new midsize sedan.

"Anybody who is a manufacturer of that size, they're going to have suppliers who want to come in to be in close proximity to them," Smith said.

Representing Adairsville was more than two dozen individuals, including leaders in the business community, civic organizations and local government. Signs and balloons were held high gaining the attention of passersby.

About a dozen individuals from all areas of local commerce participated at the Cartersville/Main Street overpass at exit 288. Key Accounts Manager for Cartersville Electric Tamara Brock joined the group holding signs for the state, county and VW along with an American flag and a banner proudly announcing "Bartow."

"I work closely with the Department of Economic Development and since they were the ones that got it together it was just natural for Cartersville Electric to support them on it," Brock said. "I think we have great resources that we can provide to potential manufactures and industries in this community both in the natural resources we have available to them and also through our governments both city and county."

Bartow's location between Chattanooga and Atlanta on I-75 places it in a region known as Automotive Alley. As a certified Work Ready community, Bartow hopes to bring the capital investment, inventory, tax base and jobs associated with such industry.

VW announced Wednesday plans to construct another plant in Mexico for an estimated $550 million. The plant will employ some 700 people and provide about 330,000 engines a year for a Jetta plant in Mexico as well as the Chattanooga facility.