Volkswagen intends to sell a subcompact SUV in the United States by 2016 and there is a strong possibility that the vehicle will be assembled at VW’s Chattanooga, Tennessee facility. Marc Trahan, executive vice president of VW of America, told reporters at an Automotive Press Association event in Detroit, “Chattanooga is in the lead. We’ve made a significant investment in Chattanooga and it’s one that we want to have its full potential realized.”
Alternatively, the SUV could be produced in Mexico. The decision will be made in Wolfsburg. Trahan said that decision would be made by the end of the year. “For me, the answer is obvious, but we have to go through a pretty deliberative decision-making process,” Trahan said. “Additional product will go in [the Chattanooga plant]. It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when and what.” VW has shown the Taigun, a small SUV concept that will go on sale in developing markets in 2016, but the automaker has previously indicated that it won’t be sold in North America.
Growth in the U.S. market is critical to VW’s plans to become the largest car company in the world and VW has expanded the Chattanooga facility to meet that growth. Trahan declined to comment on the UAW’s efforts to represent workers at the Tennessee facility.