Volkswagen announced the Chattanooga plant in Tennessee will be building the brand’s new midsize SUV.
Diesel and/or hybrid powertrains are expected to be available on this new seven passenger SUV.
The Group said it will be investing a total of approximately $900 million in the production of a newly developed, seven-passenger SUV, and creating 2,000 additional jobs in the U.S. About $600 million will be invested in Tennessee.
“The United States of America is and will remain one of the most important markets for Volkswagen. Over the past few years, we have achieved a lot there. We are now launching the second phase of the Volkswagen campaign in the U.S. With the midsize SUV, the expansion of the Chattanooga plant and the new development centre, the focus is on the wishes of the US customer. This is also a strong signal for the U.S. as an industrial and automobile production location. The Volkswagen brand is going on the attack again in America,” said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. “The Chattanooga-built midsize SUV will allow us to fulfil the wishes of our dealer network, bringing new customers to our showrooms and additional growth for the brand,” said Michael Horn, President and CEO Volkswagen Group of America. “We are eager to be entering this growing vehicle segment with a world-class, seven-passenger SUV from Volkswagen.”
Apart from investing in the production of a new vehicle, the Chattanooga location is to receive a new, independent National Research & Development and Planning Centre of the Volkswagen Group of America for project coordination in the North American market, added VW. The objective is to identify customers’ feedback in the market and to integrate them more expeditiously into existing and planned vehicle models.
VW said this will lead to the creation of approximately 200 qualified engineers working in Chattanooga. This decision is another element in the investment program that the Volkswagen Group has launched in the region. From 2014 to 2018, the Volkswagen Group said it will be investing more than $7 billion in the U.S. and Mexico. It is Volkswagen’s goal to deliver 800,000 vehicles in the U.S. by 2018.
At Chattanooga, the new SUV will be integrated into existing plant structures, explained VW. Existing areas in production will be used for the assembly of the midsize SUV. A total floor space of approximately 538,000 square feet will be added to the existing production facility.
The midsize SUV, which is based on the CrossBlue concept vehicle, was developed especially for the North American market. The CrossBlue made its global debut at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.