published Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

VW delivering first Chattanooga-made Passats to customers

A new Volkswagen Passat sits on display on the deck of the Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga during a Volkswagen dinner and reception for international media in this file photo.
A new Volkswagen Passat sits on display on the deck of the Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga during a Volkswagen dinner and reception for international media in this file photo.
Photo by Jenna Walker.
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VW says its diesel model Passat gets about 43 miles per gallon on the highway with a manual transmission.

Volkswagen on Monday started delivery of Chattanooga-made Passats to customers with a California man the first buyer to drive away with the all-new sedan.

But, it may be later this week before Chattanooga's VW dealership starts delivery of its Passats, an official said.

"We should deliver mine this week," said Ron Kwiatkowski, new vehicle sales manager for Village Volkswagen in Chattanooga.

Matt Duchesne, of San Jose, Calif., was the first to pick up the Passat he preordered. Duchesne bought a clean diesel version of the midsize car, one of 3,000 Passats that have been ordered.

To mark the occasion, Volkswagen will send Duchesne and a guest to the Chattanooga factory for a VIP tour, the company said.

Late last month, VW started shipping the Passat from Chattanooga to the West Coast as part of its rollout of the car.

VW of America spokesman Darryll Harrison said vehicles started Monday to reach dealerships and are available for purchase upon arrival.

"Inventory will increase significantly over the next few weeks," he said.

Kwiatkowski said Village Volkswagen has presold about 20 cars, the bulk of which are diesel models. He said Pete Cooper of the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga called him Monday wondering when he could pick up his car.

Kwiatkowski said he understands that VW sent cars to a distribution center on the West Coast and some of those cars were released to dealers Monday.

VW officials had said the cars were first shipped to California and Washington state because of the distance from the plant.

The Chattanooga factory, which opened this spring, produced its 10,000th all-new Passat last week.

"We are very excited to share this seminal moment for Volkswagen in America with Mr. Duchesne," said Marc Trahan, executive vice president of group quality at VW of America. "It is the fulfillment of our promise to the U.S. market that we can deliver a German-engineered car with American sensibilities at an affordable price."

After Duchesne tours the Chattanooga plant, VW will give him a fully stocked gift bag of VW gear, and Shell will give him $500 in gift cards for fuel, according to the German automaker.

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about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.

Volkswagen enjoys the most inflated and undeserved reputation for build quality among all major manufacturers...They build cheap vehicles using cheap labor that sell for "cheap" prices...They have duped consumers with clever adverts and outright propaganda...Anyone seriously considering leasing or purchasing any Volkswagen should take a long hard look at cost of acquisition, cost of ownership and resale value retention...Run the numbers and you'll quickly see VW ownership is a losing proposition!!!

September 13, 2011 at 10:49 a.m.
dao1980 said...

I completely disagree Muhammad.

All vehicles purchased new equate to a "loosing proposition" if your only interest is value retention and cost of acquisition.

As someone who enjoys the thrill of driving hard and drifting tires, I absolutely love the way a VW, a BMW, or a Porsche feel on the road... maybe its a German thing ;)

September 13, 2011 at 11:14 a.m.

You are entitled to your opinion...It's my opinion driving is like being funny or making love...Everyone thinks they're good at it...

September 13, 2011 at 12:21 p.m.
dao1980 said...

Ha! Very true indeed.

September 13, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.
Das_Auto_Owner said...

I wonder if Muhammad has done either.

September 16, 2011 at 10:23 a.m.
jsmith1427 said...

In my statement of new motors, this is the first season of creation for the new Passat and I have been one to always go by the saying: never buy the first season creation design. And this is why.

I’ve come to this final result after a loved one obtained a first season creation E65 2002 BMW 745i that was so difficult, BMW purchased it again and presented with out a new one. The second car still was a little challenging. But then again, it did have a lot of auto repair innovative technologies.

December 2, 2011 at 10:20 p.m.
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