Volkswagen is planning two tracks at its Chattanooga plant site to check the quality of the vehicles that roll off the assembly line, an official said Thursday.
"Both are part of VW quality assurance," said Guenther Scherelis, general manager of communication for Volkswagen's Chattanooga operation.
One track will have several surfaces where vehicles just off the assembly line will be checked to make sure they're running correctly, he said. That track will be between the plant's paint shop and technical center, Mr. Scherelis said.
A second one will be a straighter high-speed track, he said. The one-lane track will end in a loop so the vehicle can turn around, Mr. Scherelis said. It will be built between the paint shop and the training center.
Earlier this week, the city's Industrial Development Board approved changes to a contract that will permit the relocation of a water line to enable the high-speed track to be built.
"There have been refinements to the building and utility layouts on site," said Steve Leach, the city's public works administrator.
Mr. Scherelis said it's "quite normal" for such tracks to be built at VW's newer plants. He insisted the tracks can't be called "test tracks," because that term implies research.
Mr. Scherelis said there's no decision about permitting individual buyers of VWs assembled at the Chattanooga factory to take delivery and drive them on the track before taking them home. BMW allows that at its Spartanburg, S.C., plant.
Mr. Scherelis said VW permits buyers to pick up their vehicles at the German automaker's Wolfsburg headquarters, where cars are stored in tall circular towers.
J.Ed. Marston, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president of marketing, said ensuring the quality of VW's products is a commitment echoed throughout the company's operations.
"This bodes very well for the success of Volkswagen operations here in Chattanooga," he said.
According to online auto rating service Edmunds.com, VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn a couple of years ago ordered a thorough review of quality as part of a program aimed at raising the company's international competitiveness.
Mr. Winterkorn vowed to take the lessons learned during his time as head of sister company Audi to make Volkswagen a leader in quality in its class, Edmunds,com said.