Chattanooga's chances for getting a new line of vehicles at the Enterprise South Industrial Park were heightened Sunday when the CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, announced a multi-billion dollar investment program in North America over the next five years. Furthermore, Dr. Winterkorn revealed that Volkswagen’s mid-size SUV for America will be a reality.
The CEO also reaffirmed the goal to sell one million vehicles from the Volkswagen and Audi brands per year in the U.S. by 2018.“The Volkswagen Group is staying on course with qualitative growth,” he said in a statement in Detroit on the eve of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
He said, “As a group we will be investing over seven billion dollars in North America over the next five years.” Another element in the growth strategy is an attractive brand-new model designed specifically for North America. In the presence of 350 guests in Detroit, Dr. Winterkorn announced: “I’m delighted to confirm what so many have been waiting so long to hear: Volkswagen’s midsize SUV for America is on its way.” He stated that development work on the seven-seater had already begun and that the U.S. market launch was scheduled for 2016.
“We want many more American drivers to feel at home with our Group brands and are working to achieve that with one hundred percent commitment and plenty of passion,” Dr. Winterkorn said on the eve of North America’s most prestigious auto show.
Plants in Chattanooga and Puebla, Mexico, have been competing for the new CrossBlue SUV and recent reports are that Chattanooga has the edge.
VW began producing the Passat at the huge site in Tyner in 2011.
Dr. Winterkorn said the Volkswagen Group is now "a force to be reckoned with on the key U.S." market, and cited the group’s success as evidence of this: “The group has almost doubled unit sales in the U.S. since 2008, setting a new record of over 600,000 deliveries in 2013.”