The first phase of construction is underway at the Volkswagen Chattanooga manufacturing facility in preparation for production of an all new Midsize SUV, according to a news release.


Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO and President Christian Koch gave a site tour Tuesday to Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger on Tuesday.


A total of 512,886 square feet will be added to the already existing plant. The assembly, body and paint shops will each undergo a major expansion to accommodate the new SUV line.

 

“The all-new midsize SUV is a vital component in Volkswagen's growth strategy for the U.S. market, meeting the demands of the customer and dealer network,” said Michael Horn, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “We're thrilled that work has begun on the expansion of our US manufacturing home, Volkswagen Chattanooga, the facility that will be responsible for building the midsize SUV and home of the award winning Passat.”


Volkswagen's National Engineering and Planning Center will take up temporary residency in a building next to the factory, as hiring for the more than 200 engineers is now underway.


Also in the planning stages is the Volkswagen Visitor Center, which will be located 18 miles from the factory in Downtown Chattanooga and is set to open in Summer 2016.

 

Production of an updated Passat is scheduled to start in the summer of 2015. The new Midsize SUV, which was assigned to be built by the Chattanooga plant in the summer of 2014, is scheduled to be in production at the end of 2016.