Volkswagen today took the wraps off its new midsize sport utility vehicle to show to its Chattanooga plant employees, who gave the vehicle an ovation.
"This marks an important milestone for the factory," said Christian Koch, who heads the plant where the Atlas SUV will be produced alongside the Passat sedan.
The seven-seat SUV will be produced late this year. Vehicles will go on sale in the spring 2017.
"It has been hard work," Koch said. "It will be hard work as well."
Last week in California, the SUV was officially revealed for the first time, three years after the German carmaker launched the concept at the Detroit auto show.
Hinrich J. Woebcken, chief of Volkswagen's North America region, said the 2018 Atlas is designed for "the heart of the American market."
"This is the biggest and boldest Volkswagen we have ever built in the United States, delivering the distinctive design and craftsmanship we're known for," he said.
The Atlas arrives with a full slate of available driver assistance and technology features, an expansive interior and a choice of two powertrains, according to VW, but not a diesel engine.
The SUV is the result of a $900 million expansion at the company's Chattanooga factory.
See more in Wednesday's Times Free Press.