TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Despite recent media reports that claim the United Auto Workers union is having discussions about organizing workers at Volkswagen’s new plant in Chattanooga, TN, it’s news to Don Jackson, president-manufacturing, Volkswagen Chattanooga Operations.

“There is no discussion at the Chattanooga facility about the UAW,” Jackson tells reporters on the sidelines of the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars here, although he acknowledges there is plenty of speculation in Europe and elsewhere.

There is interest in the new plant in many quarters, because it rapidly is ramping up production and is expected to add several new products in the future.

New Audi models, plus the VW Tiguan cross/utility vehicle and more Passats all have been rumored as products that might be built there.

If production continues to expand, thousands more new jobs could be added in the Chattanooga area.

Current capacity is slated at 150,000 units annually, but the factory could build as many as 220,000 units a year in the future, Jackson says.

As it gradually ramps up production, Chattanooga will assemble 45,000 to 50,000 Passats this year.

Jackson will not comment about any of the other products that might be built there, but he makes clear the facility is capable of making a lot more vehicles.

“When we designed the plant, we actually built in spaces in our body shop where we can add more robots, more technology,” Jackson says.

“We also can extend to a second (assembly) line in our paint shop. Our assembly shop already has processes that are empty, waiting to add team members and equipment based on products we might build or additional Passats we might sell.”

dwinter@wardsauto.com