Global news in brief

 

VW celebrates grand opening of first US plant
Volkswagen officially opened its Chattanooga assembly plant in Tennessee yesterday with an inauguration ceremony attended by Prof. Dr Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, and the US secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood.
 
Construction on the $1bn facility began in 2009 and now features an automobile plant including body shop, paint shop, assembly facility, technical testing centre, an academy for the initial and advanced training of employees, and a supplier park with eight companies.
 
The new plant, which will produce the Passat, lays the foundations for Volkswagen to meet its target of boosting Group sales in the US to more than 1m vehicles per year by 2018 at the same time as winning a market share of about 6% for the Volkswagen Group.
 
It was announced last week that the plant will be using the port of Savannah for parts imports.
 
Volkswagen Group of America has chosen the port’s Garden City Terminal for the containerised shipments that will be used to feed annual production of 150,000 Passat vehicles when full production begins.
 
(Pictured from left to right) Frank Fischer, chairman and CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations; Dr Michael Macht, member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen with responsibility for Group Production; Dr Klaus Scharioth, German Ambassador to the United States; Bill Haslam, governor of the US State of Tennessee; and Jonathan Browning, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America
 
 
Ford hits Focus milestone in Russia
Ford has delivered its 500,000th vehicle in Russia to a customer in St Petersburg where the company’s assembly plant is located.
 
Russian production of the Focus started in 2002 at the Vsevolozhsk Plant near St. Petersburg – the first foreign-owned auto production facility in the country – though exports to the country began in 1999, with just 47 sold then. Last year, Focus sales in Russia reached just more than 67,000.
 

Ford of Russia uses local logistics providers Jatis and TC Axis for truck deliveries of the Focus, as well as rail-based forwarder Apparel.
 
A new Ford Focus goes on sale in Russia in June this year.
 
“This milestone shows how far we have come in Russia in the past 12 years,” said Mark Ovenden, president and managing director, Ford of Russia. “We are very proud the Focus is the most popular foreign branded vehicle ever with Russian customers. And now as we prepare to introduce the all-new Focus, we expect the Focus to reach new heights in Russia.”
 
K+N secures Continental contract
Continental Tyre has awarded Kuehne + Nagel a contract to manage its Port Elizabeth plant warehouse in South Africa. As part of the wider scope of the contract the Swiss logistics company will support Continental Tyre’s original equipment and aftermarket dealer business in the country.
 
More specifically Kuehne + Nagel will receive tyres from production, implement quality checks, handle storage and inventory, facilitate inbound/outbound movements, as well as manage empty containers.
 
The company’s general manager for Contract Logistics in South Africa, Graham Smit, said the new project would strengthen Kuehne + Nagel’s position in the South African automotive sector.
 
Elsewhere, Continental has launched production at its first Chinese tyre plant in Hefei, Anhui province, with plans to produce 4m tyres a year for both the domestic and export markets.
 
Menlo expands service for Bobcat
Menlo Worldwide Logistics is expanding its service for commercial vehicle maker Bobcat to provide pre-production engine machining, subassembly, kitting and delivery services at Bobcat’s former assembly plant in Bismarck, North Dakota.
 
Menlo currently provides component logistics and supply chain management services for the company through its Manufacturing Support Center (MSC) at the plant, which it has operated for the company since 2006. It now has a staff of 120 and the new business will bring the total dedicated space for Bobcat to 125,000ft2.
 
Work will begin immediately to ramp up the expanded support operations with completion targeted for June.