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VW Reorients Its US Operations in Wake of Crisis

Maker invests $7B in products, plants.

by on Sep.14, 2016

VW's North American cheif Hinrich Woebcken said the automaker is committed to the U.S. market.

Volkswagen of America’s new boss is confident the automaker can and will rebuild its North American business in the wake of the emission-cheating scandal.

The scandal has cost VW billions in fines and settlements, cuts sales substantially and left many of the company most loyal customers with vehicles that lost value and require major repairs.

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Hinrich Woebcken, who took over the role of president and chief executive of VW Group’s operations in North America this past winter, said during a session with reporters at the preview of Volkswagen’s 2017 model line that Volkswagen has prepared a plan for a comeback in the wake of the company’s disastrous emission cheating scandal. (more…)

VW Begins Construction on New Chattanooga Plant

Facility will build new midsize SUV in 2016.

by on Feb.25, 2015

Construction began at Volkwagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant to handle the new midsize SUV coming there in 2016.

Better late than never. Volkswagen of America (VOA), which has seen its sales battered because of the lack of a competitive utility vehicle, has take a critical step toward fixing the problem by starting construction of its assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Construction is underway at the VOA’s Chattanooga manufacturing facility in preparation for production of an all-new midsize SUV. The first phase of construction started in early January 2015 and will stretch out over the next two years, VOA officials said.

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“This is a very exciting time in the history of Volkswagen Chattanooga,” said Christian Koch, CEO and president of Volkswagen Chattanooga. “A lot of hard work is going into adding this second vehicle line to the plant, but it is crucial to our efforts to move forward in America.” (more…)

VW Looking to Americanize Vehicles Sold in US

Maker planning product development center in Tennessee.

by on Sep.10, 2014

VW is hoping its CrossBlue Concept will spur U.S. sales, which are down 13.4% in 2014.

Volkswagen wants more American input into its vehicles sold in the U.S. so it’s creating a product development center in Tennessee. Despite this need, the maker’s “Cross Blue” concept, which is supposed to revive U.S. sales, will be developed solely in Germany.

The new product development center will be next to its assembly plant in Chattanooga and help shorten the company’s product cycle, according to Mark Trahan, Volkswagen of America executive vice president.

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During the company’s recent product line preview, Trahan noted that cutting development cycles was a key objective in the company’s plans and should strengthen the maker’s position in the U.S. The center, which should be up and running in the next couple of years, is eventually expected to have as many as 200 employees. (more…)

Tennessee’s Anti-Union Approach May Stall Plans to Expand VW Plant

Maker might look for other options to build CrossBlue model.

by on Apr.08, 2014

The CrossBlue Concept was slated to be produced at the company's plant in Tennessee, but the efforts by state and national lawmakers to chase off the UAW, may have cost the plant the vehicle.

The state’s political leaders did everything they could to keep the union out of Volkswagen’s big assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., but they may also have short-circuited plans by the automaker to expand that factory to add production of a major new crossover-utility vehicle.

Barely two months after workers at the VW factory narrowly voted against the United Auto Workers Union, plans for the new Volkswagen CrossBlue model appear to have ground to a halt, in part due to delays over proposed state incentives meant to offset the cost of that factory expansion.

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And with the Tennessee legislature set to soon adjourn for the year, VW may be left with no option but to consider alternative production plans, several sources cautioned. They note that the automaker has become increasingly wary of working with Tennessee in the wake of the union flap – several top state leaders directly criticizing the company for inviting the UAW vote. (more…)

Pro- and Anti-Union Forces Wage War of Words over VW Vote

Chattanooga employees conclude vote to join, eschew union today.

by on Feb.14, 2014

Workers at Volkwagen's plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., are wrapping the vote on whether or not they will be represented by the UAW.

Workers at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Tennessee are scheduled to wrap up three days of voting on whether or not they want to join the United Auto Workers today, but the fight over the outcome continues to rage.

The UAW, which has encountered no opposition from Volkswagen of America’s management, suggested its partisans inside the plant are optimistic about the prospects for a historic victory.

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“As Chattanooga’s Volkswagen workers finish their first day of voting on whether to join the UAW, news coverage continues to reflect the excitement so many of the workers feel at the prospect of unionizing,” the union said in a statement. (more…)

UAW, Outside Groups Battle as Critical Vote at VW Plant is Set to Begin

Vote could determine fate of auto union.

by on Feb.10, 2014

Workers at Volkwagen's plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., will vote this week to determine if the UAW will represent them.

Pro-union workers from Volkswagen of America’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., have called for an end to the interference in their election by outside special interest groups and politicians.

Workers at the big plant will vote this week in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that could prove critical to the long-term viability of the United Auto Workers Union which has long struggled to organize employees at the growing number of foreign-owned “transplant” assembly lines.

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Following the announcement of the election, conservative-leaning groups like the National Right to Work Committee, and Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform launched an intense campaign in Chattanooga aimed at swaying the outcome of the vote. Among other things, they have posted a billboard featuring pictures of the Detroit’s Packard Plant, which closed more than half a century ago, and blamed the union for the Motor City’s woes. (more…)

VW, Andretti Pairing for Beetle-based Rallycross Team

Using 560-hp Beetles team competing this season.

by on Feb.06, 2014

Volkwagen of America and Andretti Racing are pairing up to compete in rallycross with drivers Tanner Foust and Scott Speed.

Volkswagen of America, Inc. and Andretti Sports Marketing are pairing up to enter a team, using VW Beetles, in the rallycross series. The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team will run two cars in the series for drivers Tanner Foust and Scott Speed.

The team will initially compete this season with modified Polo rally cars, built on the chassis that won the 2013 World Rally Championship for drivers and manufacturers, and will switch during the season to the fearsome GRC Beetle.

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This all-wheel-drive rallycross car is considered the ultimate expression of the third-generation Beetle and will feature more than 560 horsepower from its turbocharged and direct-injection TSI engine. (more…)

VW Sticking to Goal of 1 Million in US Sales by 2018

German maker adding midsize SUV to US line-up in 2016

by on Jan.13, 2014

Volkswagen plans to begin selling a midsize SUV, based off the CrossBlue, in the U.S. in 2016.

Despite enduring a tough year for its U.S. sales, Volkswagen officials are sticking to their stated goal of selling 1 million vehicles in the U.S. between VW and Audi by 2018.

“We are moving on,” said Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen AG CEO, during an event tonight in Detroit for the North American International Auto Show.

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They are “moving on” by adding a midsized SUV to the line-up in 2016 that will help the German maker meet that goal. The new SUV is based off the CrossBlue concept that made its debut at last year’s North American International Auto Show. (more…)

VW Hustling to Meet Demand for Diesel-Powered Passats

Diesel sales in July topped 40% mark for Tennessee-built sedan.

by on Aug.13, 2013

Volkwagen's Chattanooga, Tenn. plant is struggling to keep up with the demand for diesel-equipped Passats.

The rise in popularity of diesel engines – largely due to better mileage than gasoline engines – has put this country’s leading seller of diesels in a bind.

Volkswagen of America (VOA) is scrambling to improve the availability of the engines to satisfy demand for the diesel version of the Passat built at the automaker’s new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.

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Nearly 4,000 or roughly 40% of the Passats sold in July were TDI Clean Diesels. (more…)

Booming Sales Put Volkswagen of America Back in the Black

First profit in over a decade.

by on Mar.29, 2013

Workers at the new VW plant in Tennessee have had trouble meeting the growing demand for the American-made Passat.

For the first time since the original Beetle dominated the American import market, Volkswagen of America is moving solidly back into the black.

The German maker’s U.S. sales and marketing arm had steadily lost sales, share – and lots of money – ever since Asian rivals like Toyota and Honda became dominant forces in the market back in the late 1970s. In fact, VW’s decline was so severe that the maker came close to abandoning the U.S. in the early 1990s.

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But, over the last several years, it has picked up significant momentum with a mix of new products, aggressive marketing – and the addition of its first U.S. factory in decades, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.