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Staff photo by Mike Pare / Volkswagen employee Chris Marshall, right, stands ready to be interviewed at the Chattanooga plant about a VW Super Bowl commercial in which he and three co-workers will appear on Sunday.

Four Volkswagen Chattanooga plant employees will appear in a TV commercial for the automaker during the Super Bowl on Sunday.

"We know how big VW commercials are," said plant worker Benjamin Johnson, citing one of the most watched Super Bowl spots ever that in 2011 featured a pint-sized Darth Vader using the Force when he discovers the then-2012 Passat, which was made in Chattanooga.

The new Super Bowl spot will run during the second half. It will be a mix of earlier commercials featuring a personal look at the four workers which ran last fall as part of a "Sign and Drive" marketing promotion by the company.

However, the all-new 60-second Super Bowl commercial will have a football connection, said VW Chattanooga spokeswoman Amanda Plecas. She said it will run regionally in Tennessee, Georgia and Florida on local stations on the FOX network, which is televising the game.

"It's amazing," said employee Brittany Mule, who has worked at the plant for nine years. "I can't believe this is real. I'm excited, and I'll be watching."

Mule, who said she hadn't seen the spot, added that she hopes the commercial "knocks it out of the park."

Chris Marshall, a team leader has worked at the 4,000-person factory for 10 years, said he never imagined appearing in a commercial during football's biggest game.

"It's truly a blessing," he said. "I'm having a Super Bowl party. I've gotten on prime time — the biggest stage in the world."

Timothy Reid, a three-year plant employee, said he can't wait to see the spot.

"It's phenomenal," he said. "We want people to know we're proud of our job. We stand by our work. We want to raise the bar."

Johnson said that after the first commercials ran late last fall, he literally heard from people from across the world.

"We all are very honored," he said.

Burkhard Ulrich, senior vice president of human resources at the plant, said he thinks the Super Bowl commercial is "a great idea."

"We want to have our employees involved in the marketing of our cars," he said.

Last year's spots were filmed in Chattanooga and the car company aired the TV commercials nationally. It showed employees both inside and outside the factory that still assembles the Passat sedan along with the seven-seat Atlas SUV and the five-seat Atlas Cross Sport SUV.

The employees said in an interview last year that they're looking forward to the $800 million plant expansion to assemble electric vehicles and the sale of the Atlas Cross Sport, which will hit dealerships early this year.

Chattanooga's EV production site will hold what the automaker terms "the backbone of the technology" — a battery system located beneath the cars known as the Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB) on which all of the brand's electric cars will sit.

Also during the Super Bowl, the VW brand Porsche will run its first ad during the game since 1997 to promote its first electric vehicle, the Taycan.

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

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