Volkswagen Builds 250,000th Passat in Tennessee
Ah, the power of German engineering. Volkswagen of America has built its 250,000th Passat family sedan after a two-year run in Tennessee. Re-engineered and reintroduced two years ago, the Volkswagen Passat quickly picked up steam in the segment with a cheaper price, more space, and better accommodations for an American audience than the old German-built sedan of the same name. Last year, Volkswagen sold more than 117,000 Passats in the U.S., and the automaker is up slightly on those numbers through April. "Two years ago our team members had just learned to build cars," said Frank Fischer, CEO and Chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga, in a statement. "Today we celebrate a quarter of a million Volkswagen Passats from Chattanooga. I am very proud of this team." In case you're wondering, the 250,000th car in question was a Midnight Blue Passat with a diesel engine and Fender audio system. Volkswagen employs nearly 2,700 employees in its only U.S. plant, producing cars for the U.S. and Asia. Volkswagen in Europe gets a decidedly different--more expensive--version of the car that left our shores after the 2011 model year. The car the U.S. has is larger and more suited to American tastes. Next year, Volkswagen is set the drop the current car's base 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine in favor of a turbocharged 1.8-liter unit that should be both more powerful and more fuel-efficient than the 170-horsepower unit in the current car. Other engines found under the hood of the Passat include a 2.0-liter, 140-horsepower diesel engine that can net as much as 43 mpg and a 3.6-liter V-6 with 280 horsepower. After several billion dollars invested in the Chattanooga facility, you may think that all that time and money for 250,000 cars over two years--the Hyundai Sonata sells nearly that well in a single year--is a bit of a waste. But the plant has allowed VW to compete in the U.S. without having to compete with a struggling euro. And Volkswagen is likely to bring a second vehicle to that plant--likely a seven-passenger crossover--sooner rather than later. Source: Volkswagen
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