Volkswagen AG will build a new sports utility vehicle at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant as recent data indicates demand for larger vehicles, stated the company’s top U.S. executive. Chief Executive Officer Hinrich Woebcken told reporters at the New York auto show that the company plans to build a five-seat SUV in Tennessee but did not disclose when production would begin.
VW AG is the largest automaker worldwide in the sales category and will begin selling its seven-seat VW Atlas SUV in May 2017. Woebcken has stated that the focus within the U.S. will be shifted to a “family friend” automaker that will offer larger, U.S.-built SUVs. It was not disclosed whether or not more employees would be hired to help build the new SUV.
Volkswagen has agreed to add a minimum of three electric vehicles which include an SUV, in California by 2020 and is required to sell 5,000 electric vehicles annually there through 2025 as part of its diesel emission settlement. Woebcken hopes that this will boost the company’s reputation in the U.S. as the automaker has agreed to spend up to $25 billion to buy back vehicles and resolve claims from U.S. dealers, regulators, owners and states.