DETROIT -- Volkswagen will export some of the mid-sized sedans it plans to produce at a new factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., to markets outside the NAFTA region.
Its not a significant volume, but there are markets which are attractive to that, Volkswagen Group of America CEO Stefan Jacoby said here today. It could be the Middle East or it could be some Asian countries, some South American countries.
Construction on the $1 billion factory began in November. On Sunday, VW reaffirmed its commitment to begin building vehicles there in early 2011. Initial capacity will be 150,000 vehicles annually -- all of them a mid-sized sedan slightly larger than the current Passat. A second model is under consideration, Jacoby said.
What percentage of vehicles produced in Chattanooga will be exported hasnt been determined, Jacoby said. He emphasized that the priority is the United States, followed by Canada and Mexico. VW is positioning the sedan to compete against the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
We believe this is a stable, even growing segment, Jacoby said. Its a mainstream segment and we actually can be quite successful in this segment.
All of the models produced in Chattanooga and VWs factory in Puebla, Mexico, will also be offered in diesel and gasoline-electric hybrid versions, Jacoby said. The first hybrid will be the next-generation Jetta planned for 2010.