A new Volkswagen crossover may be joining the Passat at the German automaker's Chattanooga, Tennessee factory, a facility recently in the news lately due to grumblings over an increasing potential for UAW unionization. Marc Trahan, Executive Vice President of Quality for VW in the US, told assembled media at a press luncheon yesterday that, "Right now I'd have to say Chattanooga's in the lead." Such strong wording from an executive bodes well for the Tennessee plant, which was opened by VW in 2011 and currently employs around 2,200 people, having built its 250,000th car in May.
As for what will end up in Tennessee, some reports suggest the vehicle will be a subcompact, which suggests a production version of the Taigun Concept pictured above – a small crossover that debuted nearly a year ago at the São Paulo Motor Show. Other media outlets around Chattanooga are betting on the production version of the three-row CrossBlue Concept, the altogether larger CUV seen in our gallery below.
The organized labor issue is a potentially troubling one for VW, with the Chattanooga Times Free Press indicating that unionization could have a negative impact on whatever vehicle is being considered at the moment. If the Tennessee plant doesn't get the new vehicle, it's still likely to add a second model to its assembly line before too long, though. "We've made a significant investment in Chattanooga and it's one that we want to have its full potential realized," Trahan says of the facility. Whatever ends up being built alongside the Passat, we expect to see it in 2016 or 2017.
UPDATE: Autoblog has learned that VW has no plans to bring a production Taigun to Chattanooga – a reporter from another publication evidently misheard what was said at the press event. Thus, once again, the smart money on VW building a crossover in Tennessee goes to the three-row CrossBlue.