Cleveland, Ohio – It’s been a good few days for the automotive Deep South with Nissan hitting production milestones and expanded production in Mississippi and Volkswagen announcing plans to bring a new vehicle variant to Tennessee.
In Chattanooga, Tennessee, Volkswagen officials say they plan to build a 5-passenger variant of the 7-passenger Atlas sport utility vehicle (SUV) at their plant there. The larger Atlas went into production early last year.
“The Atlas has built strong momentum for Volkswagen in the SUV segment, and we are excited to grow our SUV portfolio with this new, Chattanooga-assembled five-passenger SUV,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America Inc.
Volkswagen will invest approximately $340 million to bring the vehicle to market, in addition to approximately $900 million already invested to expand the plant for Atlas production. The 5-passenger Atlas variant will mark the third Volkswagen model assembled at the Chattanooga factory, joining the Passat sedan and larger Atlas SUV.
A concept version of the five-passenger SUV will be unveiled at the 2018 New York International Auto Show.
Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi, plant produced its 4 millionth vehicle, a 2018 NV Cargo van, marking a major milestone for the facility that opened in 2003 (full disclosure, it was Nissan’s entry into Mississippi that brought me into the automotive journalism world a few years before the plant began production).
In addition to the celebration for hitting a nice, round number, the automaker announced plans to add a second shift in Canton, adding or retaining 250 jobs.
"Adding a second shift for NV Van production underscores our employees' hard work and dedication to building world class, quality vehicles for our customers," said Steve Marsh, vice president, Manufacturing, Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant.
Nissan has invested $3.4 billion in the facility since its opening in 2003. The plant:
- Employs 6,400
- Has added 1,500 jobs since 2013
- Can produce 450,000 vehicles per year
- Current builds the Nissan Altima, Murano, Titan, Titan XD, Frontier, NV Cargo Van, and NV Passenger Van
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 18 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.