The reason behind the potential move is obvious: Shifting some of the assembly from Wolfsburg, Germany to North America has the potential to save hundreds of millions of dollars over the lifetime of the next Golf. The budget-minded hatch is due for a major overhaul in the next few years, and lining up another NA-based production center would go a long way towards bringing VW's production capacity up to achieve its goal of selling 15 million vehicles worldwide by 2018.
With its Puebla, Mexico facility building the new Jetta and ramping up production of the new Beetle, its output could be tapped out if the reborn Bug proves to be a sales success in the States. And VW probably won't expand its Mexican production operations, leaving its new Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, which is currently producing the Passat.
The facility in Tennessee is presently capable of producing 150,000 vehicles per year, but as VW officials have previously confirmed, there's plenty of potential to expand the plant. And we're sure Tennessee would welcome the extra investment.
One thing that won't happen – we've been assured – is a diluted and cut-price NA-specific Golf to compete on the low-end of the segment – even if production shifts to this side of the planet.
Regardless of where it's built, the next Golf will be a global model, unlike the current Jetta.