VW Considers Chattanooga Plant for SUV Production, But Still Not Sure image

Although VW considers its Chattanooga facility a global model for efficient production and energy conservation, executives still doubt that the plant is the best option for the new crossover SUV.

VW is expected to announce the production place for the new model by July and state officials hope that the automaker will take the decision to double down on the facility which currently has around 2, 500 employees. Earlier this month local officials have traveled to VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, trying to convince the company to expand the Chattanooga plant.

“We are always looking for ways to work with them and encourage their growth in Chattanooga,” Mayor Andy Berke, who was on the Germany trip, said in an email.

An important role in this decision will be played by the economic incentives, similar with the situation in 2008 when Chattanooga beat Michigan and Alabama. Supporters say that the facility has more than justified the incentives, as the plant has created 12,400 jobs and more than $643 million in annual income, plus a $53 million annual increase in local tax revenues.

Jan Spies, VW’s head of factory planning, said that if the company does not choose this plant to build the new SUV, it will not be because of the lack of available space, but because a site cannot fit all production needs.

“As soon as you come to building cars that have a much higher complexity, this layout will not be the best,” said Spies.

Source: The Detroit News