U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said in Chattanooga today there was "no way" the Volkswagen plant could survive producing just one vehicle, citing the importance of last month's announcement that the factory would assemble a new sport utility vehicle.
"The way the plant was built, there was no way the plant would survive with just one model," he said. "It can't operate profitably with just one line."
Corker also said that Mexico, where a VW plant also had been vying for the SUV, had re-entered the fight to land the new vehicle before the company made its decision to put it in Chattanooga.
The former Chattanooga mayor noted that a Pennsylvania VW plant already had failed in 1988.
He said the $600 million VW plans to invest in the Enterprise South industrial park plant, along with 2,000 more jobs, "drives stakes deep" into Chattanooga.
"This will be VW in America," Corker told Chattanooga Times Free Press reporters and editors.
The Chattanooga plant currently makes the Passat midsize sedan. Production of a new SUV is slated to start in late 2016.
See more in Thursday's Times Free Press.