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Despite the worst U.S. auto market in 25 years, Volkswagen says it has no regrets about the decision to build a new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In fact, they are going full speed ahead, currently moving huge piles of dirt as the first phase of the project that was formalized last July. Volkswagen will build a mid-size sedan somewhat larger than its current Passat
, but the company has not released official details of the vehicle at this point.
Dogged in its determination for worldwide growth, VW is not ignoring the United States as an avenue for increased sales. Indeed, Volkswagen intends to sell 1 million vehicles a year in the States by 2018. Said Volkswagen AG spokeswoman Jill Bratina in Detroit News, "we have stuck with our goals of growing our sales in the U.S. market. This plant is critical to that." In a global crunch, VW is defying the odds, having enjoyed a 28 percent worldwide profit increase
in the third quarter.
Hopefully new American employers like VW, as well as increased shifts and production at other auto plants (such as those producing the Honda Civic
) that produce suddenly popular fuel-efficient cars, will be a boon to autoworkers being laid off in droves from Big Three plants. For example, GM's assembly plant in Moraine, Ohio, that builds the mid-sized GMT 360 SUVs will go permanently offline on December 23
. VW's Chattanooga is slated to employ roughly 2,000 workers when it begins production.--Colin Mathews
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