published Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

SUV would mean more good news from Chattanooga Volkswagen plant

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    This view shows the VW plant from the visitor's center. Staff Photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press
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Chattanoogans were still celebrating word that the locally built Volkswagen Passat had been named Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year when the tantalizing possibility of more good news from VW emerged.

A German newspaper, Financial Times Deutschland, has reported that in addition to the Passat, Volkswagen plans to build a sport utility vehicle at the massive Chattanooga plant at Enterprise South industrial park.

The SUV would be smaller and less expensive than Volkswagen's existing Touareg SUV but roomier than VW's Tiguan SUV, according to the newspaper.

If the plan comes to fruition, the new vehicle would be launched in 2015.

The plan to build the SUV in Chattanooga has not been confirmed by Volkswagen, but Volkswagen of America's chief executive, Jonathan Browning, did not dismiss the possibility during the recent Los Angeles Auto Show. Moreover, he said that such a vehicle would be a good fit in the American market and for the VW brand.

A decision about the vehicle should be coming soon, the German newspaper reported.

Our local VW plant certainly has room for expanded operations at Enterprise South, so the possibilities of how the company might make use of that space are of great interest to Chattanooga, Hamilton County and the surrounding area.

We are already enjoying the economic benefits -- including thousands of jobs -- of having the Volkswagen production facility here. We will be excited to see what may be coming next.

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