After a diesel emissions scandal that cost Volkswagen billions in fines and slumping sales of its Chattanooga-made Passat sedan, Tennessee lawmakers (who have granted the automaker hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives to build and expand Chattanooga's VW plant) worried about the future of their investment, because Volkswagen was looking to cut back on certain operations.
Now things are looking up. Volkswagen's new Chattanooga-made, seven-passenger Atlas SUV is selling so well that the company plans to start building a new five-seater model, which means VW will put $340 million toward expanding the plant.
"What they're doing as far as ramping up their operations, we anticipate there'll be additional jobs," said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, although the company isn't yet saying how many--if any--new jobs will be created.
Volkswagen North America CEO Hinrich Woebcken says, for him, the success of the Atlas symbolizes a "turnaround for our brand here in the United States."