VW Idling Tennessee Plant Over Slow Passat Sales

Volkswagen will be idling its Tennesee plant for two weeks this spring, as a result of slow demand for the Passat.

The factory will take the opportunity to jump on increasing sales of the midsize Atlas SUV.  During the first week of the shutdown, in March, the plant will retrain and reconfigure to boost Atlas production. After that, there will be another mandatory shutdown the first week of April to help reduce car inventories.

“It’s not a secret the market is shifting from sedans and passenger cars to family-friendly SUVs,” plant spokesman Keith King said. “It allows us to correct course a little bit.”

SUVs made up 54 percent of Volkswagen of America sales last month. The company is looking at assembling another new SUV at the plant, along with EV production. The company doesn’t expect sales of the Passat to return to previous levels, but doesn’t expect the sedan to go away.

No layoffs are expected to go along with the shutdown, but the plant is paying out a performance bonus a week early to help employees with the missed week’s wages.

[source: Chattanooga Times Free Press]