Chattanooga workers celebrate the start of Atlas production

Chattanooga workers celebrate the start of Atlas production

Volkswagen's US plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee marked the start of series production of the new Atlas SUV on 14 December. The plant is working to building inventory for market introduction in 2017.

"I am very proud of the hard work the Chattanooga team has put in to bring the Atlas to series production," said Christian Koch, president and CEO of the factory. "The challenge of integrating a new vehicle line while simultaneously completing a major expansion of our facility was daunting, but our team stepped up to the task and now we have taken another step towards the market introduction of the Atlas," he said.

The Atlas, unveiled on the Santa Monica Pier last October, launches a new chapter in the company's American history. The seven-passenger SUV is claimed to offer class-competitive levels of technology and room, combined with VW driving dynamics and attention to detail.

"The Atlas marks a brand new journey for Volkswagen as we enter deeper into the heart of the American market, moving from a small-car brand towards a more family-friendly lineup," said Hinrich Woebcken, CEO of the North America region, VW. "We are so proud that this vehicle was not only designed for the American market but we built it in our factory right here in Tennessee."

In conjunction with the facilities expansion, Chattanooga continues to grow its workforce to meet the production demands of adding the Atlas to the existing Passat line. It currently employs 2,800 workers - up from 2,400 this summer - and will continue to add employees throughout the ramp up.

The Atlas is built alongside the Passat after an additional US$900m spend on the facility. Expansion added 665,000 square feet (a 26% increase in production space), growing each shop to accommodate the integration of the Atlas.