Volkswagen reaffirms dedication to Chattanooga following emissio - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Volkswagen reaffirms dedication to Chattanooga following emissions scandal

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In an email released Thursday, Volkswagen affirmed their commitment to Chattanooga's plant and workers as the new SUV preps are underway.

The missive came mere hours before Tennessee lawmakers were to begin a hearing in Chattanooga Thursday about Volkswagen's efforts to recover from a diesel emissions cheating scandal.

The release reads:

The Volkswagen Group has reaffirmed its commitment to expanding its Chattanooga facility, where it plans on producing a newly developed midsize SUV for the U.S. market.

As previously announced, the Group plans on a total investment of approximately $900 million in the production of a newly developed, seven-passenger SUV. In the state of Tennessee alone, Volkswagen Group anticipates a $600 million investment and creation of 2,000 additional jobs. 

Production of the new midsize SUV is scheduled to begin in Chattanooga toward the end of 2016.

“Today, we reaffirm our support of the Chattanooga plant, our employees and the broader community,” said Christian Koch, president and CEO, Volkswagen Chattanooga. “We know we have a lot of hard ahead of us, but this is a crucial moment in our efforts to deepen our commitment to America.”

In addition to investing in a new manufacturing line for the mid-size SUV, Volkswagen has created a new Engineering and Planning Center in Chattanooga. This center will house all future projects for the North American market through a central location, enabling the company to quickly and efficiently implement market-specific changes to vehicles.

“The United States continues to be one of the most important markets for Volkswagen, and our commitment to Chattanooga and the state of Tennessee is clear proof of that,” said Michael Horn, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “The Chattanooga plant is a core part of our strategy in North America. Here and throughout the region, we will work toward meeting the demands of our U.S. customers and regaining their trust in the Volkswagen brand.”

To allow for the production of the new midsize-SUV for North America, the current space at the plant in Chattanooga will be expanded by more than 500,000 square feet. Production of the new vehicle will be integrated into the current plant structure.

Volkswagen has already invested more than U.S. $1 billion in its factory in Tennessee. Currently, more than 2,400 employees work at the plant; this summer, the 500,000th U.S.-built Passat was built.

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