UPDATE: Volkswagen idles production for 2 weeks, retooling for more SUV's
The Chattanooga plant will have nonproduction periods on March 26-29 and April 2-5.
UPDATE: For the next two weeks, employees won't assemble Passats at the Chattanooga plant. The company says the market is changing and fewer people are buying sedans.
It’s been one week since we've learned a third Volkswagen vehicle will be manufactured in the Scenic City.
Monday, the company entered a "non-production period" because of declining Passat sales. As of February, VW only sold about 3,000 of the models, that's down about 50% from the previous year. This week the plant will be open, employees can choose to complete yearly mandatory training or utilize time off. The second week production in the plant will be shut down. Volkswagen Chattanooga has scheduled a non-production period to take place March 26 – April 5, 2018.
“Developments and retooling in both the body shop and the assembly shop will take place, as well as scheduled preventative maintenance throughout the facility,” Keith King, a company spokesperson explained.
King says they are adjusting their production demands because more car buyers want family-friendly SUV’s.
While they cut back on the Passat, the seven-seat, three-row Atlas is getting a boost. Governor Bill Haslam said VW is committed to staying in Chattanooga.
"I think the fact that they've stayed here, stayed committed, kept investing says a lot about the workforce right here in Chattanooga and Hamilton County,” Gov. Haslam said.
We spoke to employees about the lull in production and the time off, some said they did not want to take the time off, while others are okay with the break. One employee told us they could use paid time off or unpaid time off and they were offered an early bonus.
VW's spokesperson wouldn't share those specifics with Channel 3 but says each employee has been given an option and what they decide on is between the team members and the human resources department.
VW recently announced a 5-seat Atlas will be manufactured in Chattanooga. We'll learn more about that model later this week.