Volkswagen is betting big on the United States, as evidenced by the construction of a brand-new plant just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
That plant, which will build the North American version of the new 2012 Passat (Europeans will get a slightly different version), is set up to produce up to 150,000 units annually on two shifts.
That would mark a significant expansion for the German maker, which has long struggled to regain the foothold it had in the U.S. market in the ‘60s and ‘70s. It would also help move VW ahead as it takes aim at rivals Toyota and General Motors in a big to become the world’s number one automaker by 2018.
The redesigned Passat, following close upon last year’s updates of the Jetta and Touareg, is the next step in that plan. So is the production shift to the States.
The company is hoping to keep production and distribution costs low, so that the sticker price of the Passat can be brought down to a level that won’t send price-sensitive American motorists screaming in horror and heading to the nearest Hyundai showroom.