VW’s decision to expand Chattanooga plant depends on how well 2012 Passat sells

2012 Volkswagen Passat

Yesterday, Volkswagen held an inauguration ceremony for its new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to Volkswagen’s CEO Martin Winterkorn, the automaker will now study whether to expand its new assembly plant here during the next year.

Winterkorn said that the decision to expand the plant will depend on how well the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, which will be built at the plant, sells in the U.S. market. “We have an extremely strong commitment to the U.S. market,” he said.

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Winterkorn was in Tennessee for the inauguration of the new plant, which opened 23 years after the company shuttered a plant in Pennsylvania.

“By 2018, we want to take our group to the top of the global industry,” not just in terms of sales, but also profitability, quality and sustainability, Winterkorn said. “The United States has a crucial role to play in this journey.”

Refresher: The 2012 Volkswagen Passat is offered in three trim levels, S SE and SEL. Entry-level 2012 Passat models are powered by a 2.5L 5-cylinder engine making 170-hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. Standard transmission choice include a 5-speed manual while an optional 6-speed automatic is available. Moving up, buyers can pick a 2.0 TDI Clean Diesel 4-cylinder unit making 140-hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a 6-speed DSG transmission, the 2012 Passat TDI gets 43 mpg on the highway and a range of approximately 800 miles. The range-topping 2012 Volkswagen Passat is powered by a 3.6L VR6 units producing 280-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a 6-speed DSG, the 2012 Passat VR6 will get 28 mpg on the highway. Prices will start around $20,000.

2012 Volkswagen Passat:

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Detroit News