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Volkswagen of America on Wednesday reported that 2020 started out as a promising year, but sales were slammed by the coronavirus in March.

First quarter sales for the company fell 13% to 75,075 vehicles, the automaker reported.

January and February sales were up 9.4% over the same period last year before buyers hit the brakes in March, when sales plunged 42%, the company reported.

Sales of the Chattanooga-made Atlas SUV fell 11% in the first quarter, even though January and February figures were up 24%.

Sales of the brand new Atlas Cross Sport, a five-seat version of the seven-seat Atlas, were 1,129 in the quarter, according to VW.

Passat sales were off 23% in the quarter for the midsize sedan also built in Chattanooga.

According to VW, 78% of Atlas purchases and leases in the quarter were from households new to VW.

The automaker's Chattanooga assembly plant has temporarily shut down due to the impact of the virus. Production could restart early this month, though officials said they will evaluate the situation.

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