3,100 Chattanooga-made VW Passats sell in 1st month

3,100 Chattanooga-made VW Passats sell in 1st month

October 4th, 2011 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

A new Volkswagen Passat sits on display on the deck of the Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga during a Volkswagen dinner and reception for international media in this file photo.

Photo by Jenna Walker/Times Free Press.

Village Volkswagen's general manager said Monday he's begging the automaker's regional sales office for more Chattanooga-made Passats.

"I wish I had a lot more of them," said Dale Smith of the Chattanooga dealership, saying he has delivered all 13 of the Passats he has received. "I've got people asking about them."

Volkswagen of America on Wednesday reported it sold 3,176 Passats in September as the automaker ramps up its launch of the midsize sedan. Last month is the first in which VW reported Passat sales.

The introduction of the redesigned Passat and Beetle, along with strong Jetta deliveries, helped drive up Volkswagen sales 35.6 percent in the United States in the month over a year ago, according to VW.

"We are continuing to see consumer interest in our German-engineered vehicles grow as we launched the all-new Passat and Beetle in September," said Jonathan Browning, VW of America's chief executive.

Jetta sales rose 55.4 percent in the month to 13,128 units, the carmaker reported.

Edmunds.com senior analyst Michelle Krebs it will be interesting if the Passat can win over owners of Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords.

Volkswagen continues to build overall momentum, with its U.S. sales so far this year surpassing full-year 2010 numbers, she said.

VW officials have said they expect to product about 50,000 Passats at the new $1 billion Chattanooga plant this year. The factory has capacity to assemble 150,000 vehicles when fully operational next year, according to VW.

Smith said he believes the plant is making about 250 vehicles a day and hand inspecting each one for quality.

"With the lofty numbers VW is projecting, it will need to have Toyota- and Honda-type quality," he said. "They're going out of their way making sure deliveries are trouble free."

That being said, Smith said he'd like to have more Passats, especially with all the talk about the new vehicle over the last three years since VW announced it was building the plant at Enterprise South industrial park.

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