It seemed like forever before Volkswagen finally decided to put up a new assembly plant in the U.S., decades after closing its original, ill-fated facility, in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. But now, the automaker can't wait to expand an operation still several years away from opening.
It was just July 15 when the German maker concluded its long search, passing over sites in Michigan and Alabama for a greenfield location near Chattanooga, Tennessee -- a state that is becoming a new Southern hub of automotive manufacturing.
Now, reveals a VW spokesperson, a second product will be added to the original, unnamed model that will be produced in Chattanooga, "in the foreseeable future." What product is unclear, but with Volkswagen putting a serious emphasis on the American market -- again -- it could range from the little Up, shown at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show, in concept form, to, well, a whole procession of models new and scheduled for update.
What's clear is that Volkswagen of America, after years of struggle, envisions tripling sales, to around 800,000 annually, by 2018. The Chattanooga plant is expected to have capacity to produce 150,000 vehicles when it opens, but annual output, the company acknowledges, could jump to 250,000, if demand is there.