Volkswagen to unveil newest Chattanooga-built SUV next month

Rendering by Volkswagen of America / The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport SUV is another part of the German automaker's SUV offensive in America.

The Atlas Cross Sport, Volkswagen's newest sport utility vehicle, will be globally unveiled in Chattanooga next month as the German automaker continues its SUV offensive.

The Cross Sport's Oct. 11 public showing also will be part of the inaugural Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, according to Volkswagen of America.

(Read more: Chattanooga MotorCar Festival coming in October)

The five-seat Cross Sport, which takes its design cues from the popular seven-seat Atlas, is undergoing assembly in Chattanooga as a 2020 model with plans for the vehicle to hit dealers early next year.

The reveal of the new SUV will take place at the assembly plant that employs 3,800 workers who already produce the Atlas and the Passat midsize sedan.


Volkswagen of America has sold 131,041 SUVs through August, up 17% compared to last year.

Matt DeLorenzo, Kelley Blue Book's senior managing editor, said the two-row Cross Sport is part of a segment of vehicles which he termed "a whole new animal."

While a couple of vehicles such as the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano have established a foothold, he termed the segment "sort of the next big thing."

Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at, said the Cross Sport is a welcome addition to VW's lineup in the United States.

"Americans like SUVs," she said. "The more flavors gives them opportunity for the brand."

Scott Keogh, Volkswagen Group of America's chief executive, said earlier this year that he views Atlas as "a family of vehicles."

He said that as the company looks at potential buyers for the new SUV, they'll probably lean "a little bit pre-family or post-family."

On Wednesday, Volkswagen of America posted its best August sales since 2013. SUVs made up 54% of total sales of 35,412 vehicles in the month. August also was the second best month ever for Atlas sales and those of the smaller Tiguan SUV, according to VW.

Volkswagen had said earlier that it would spend $340 million to bring the new five-seat Atlas to the American market.

In addition, VW plans to spend $800 million to build an electric vehicle assembly plant connected to the existing facility to make a battery-powered SUV by 2022.

The Chattanooga Motorcar Festival was conceived by local developer Byron DeFoor, who worked with city leaders and former racing competitor and longtime friend Jim Pace to create it. Pace said that often during their travels together to places like Paris and Pebble Beach, California, DeFoor would say, "We can do this in Chattanooga."

England's Brian Redman, a retired British race car driver and winner of nine sports-car road races in his 60-year career, has been named grand marshal of the festival.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.