Tennessee politicians say Volkswagen's commitment to Chattanooga - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tennessee politicians say Volkswagen's commitment to Chattanooga still strong

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Congress is calling on the top U.S. manager for Volkswagen to testify this week. Now, the same Tennessee politicians who have been VW's biggest cheerleaders want reassurance the company will hold up its end of the deal for Chattanooga.  

Close to 13,000 people's jobs are tied to the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant, directly and indirectly through suppliers.

Tennessee politicians say they are confident VW corporate will take the necessary steps to repair the brand and regain the public's trust.

Volkswagen executives are in damage control. The company's new chairman is going so far as to say the crisis threatens the company's existence.  
  
"It's hard for me to imagine that a company like Volkswagen could have carried out this type of activity. It's very difficult to understand," says U.S. Republican Senator Bob Corker.

Senator Corker was a cheerleader and key deal maker to bring the Volkswagen Passat plant to Chattanooga.
 
"I've talked to a number of people who bought clean diesel vehicles and thought they were buying something of value, paid more for it as a matter of fact, and obviously there's going to be a lot of class action suits and other kinds of things, so people have been damaged," says Corker.

Senator Corker says he knows Chairman Hans Poetsch personally and takes him at his word VW will find a fix.
 
"The gentleman who's coming in as chairman is actually, maybe one of the more committed individuals to the U.S. market," says Corker.

"They have new leadership in the company. They are looking to correct the wrongs. And they admit that they're wrong," says Third District Republican Representative Chuck Fleischmann.

Representative Fleischmann says his focus is protecting local jobs.
 
"I want to make sure that the sense of economic vibrancy that we have had here because of Volkswagen continues. It's so important that we focus and not punish the workers for the sins of the company," says Fleischmann.

It may take time, but both leaders believe Volkswagen will remain a staple to the local economy.
 
"I think that as it relates to our own facility here, while no doubt the brand is going to suffer and it's going to take a lot to bring it back to the way it was, I still think there's a even stronger commitment to making sure Chattanooga is a place of operations," says Senator Corker.

Fleischmann says he plans on meeting with VW leadership this week in Washington.

VW's U.S. CEO, Michael Horn, is supposed to testify before congress on Thursday.

Count on Channel 3 to follow the latest developments.
 

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