Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant could see unique auto assembly system

If Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant lands the automaker's new sport utility vehicle, the company plans to install an innovative way of assembling cars that it says is groundbreaking to the industry. VW Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn said last week that the roll out of the company's Modular Transverse Toolkit in Chattanooga and at other plants will be "a unique success in the automotive industry."

The process enables VW to design models ranging from a three-door hatchback to an SUV virtually sharing the same front axle, pedal box and engine positioning, despite varying wheelbase and external dimensions.

It features a greater degree of plug-and-play modularity and parts commonality than at Toyota and General Motors, generating a lot of savings to the German car maker, according to industry experts.

Installing the Toolkit likely would make up a significant portion of the hundreds of millions of dollars in investment that assembly of the new seven-seat SUV is expected to generate.

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