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Chattanooga awaiting word on VW plant expansion

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) - If Volkswagen green-lights production of a new sport utility vehicle in Chattanooga, it will be viewed as one of Tennessee's biggest economic development wins of the year.

"It certainly would be really large," said Dr. Bill Fox, who heads the University of Tennessee's Center for Business and Economic Research. If the estimates are right, the new production line will bring hundreds of millions of dollars in investment and around 1,000 new jobs.

VW's supervisory board meets in Germany today. It's the first meeting since the United Auto Workers dropped its appeal of the Chattanooga plant's union election about three weeks ago. Tennessee state officials and VW have talked, but it may be too early for the company to announce whether it will make the new SUV in Chattanooga or Mexico.

VW has said Chattanooga is the front-runner for the seven-seat SUV, which would be based on the CrossBlue prototype unveiled at the January 2013 Detroit auto show. The company has said it wants to have the vehicle in dealer showrooms in 2016. The plant now produces just the Passat midsize sedan.

Read more from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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