In order to create begin production of an all-new mid-size SUV, Volkswagen is expanding its Chattanooga production facility in Tennessee, its only manufacturing facility in the United States. To make room for making the new vehicle, the first phase of construction commenced in January; it will continue over the course of the next two years, with a total of 512,886 square feet being added to the plant along with other changes such as alterations to the assembly, body, and paint shops, with each set to undergo a major expansion to accommodate the new SUV line.
“We’re excited to see the construction under way, this means jobs and opportunity for construction workers and vendors over the months to come”, said Hamilton County Mayor, Jim Coppinger. “Ultimately this brings us closer to the day when Volkswagen will be hiring 2,000 workers to produce their new SUV.”
Though sales of the Chattanooga-built Passat are way down in the United States, an updated Passat is scheduled to begin production in the summer of 2015, while the new midsize SUV, which was previewed by the CrossBlue Concept, is scheduled to go into production at the plant by the end of 2016. Currently, VW lacks affordable midsize and large crossovers at a time when crossover sales are booming, a circumstance that is hurting the automaker in the U.S. So the sooner VW starts building and selling the vehicle, the better it will be for it and for its dealers.