VW begins Atlas series production in Chattanooga

The new crossover won\'t be heading to showrooms until spring 2017.

Volkswagen has kicked off series production for its new Atlas crossover in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Unveiled in October on the Santa Monica Pier, the Atlas marks VW's inaugural entry to the important large-crossover segment. The launch is particularly important in the US market as the brand attempts to move beyond the diesel emissions scandal.

"The Atlas marks a brand new journey for Volkswagen as we enter deeper into the heart of the American market, moving from a small-car brand towards a more family-friendly lineup," says VW Group of America chief Hinrich J. Woebcken.

The seven-seat model is based on the group's MQB modular architecture, shared with a wide range of vehicle size classes down to the VW Golf. Buyers will be able to choose from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 238 horsepower, or a 3.6-liter V6 with 280 ponies on tap. Only the V6 will be available with all-wheel drive, while all configurations utilize the same eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Atlas joins the Passat as the second model rolling off the Chattanooga assembly line, requiring a $900 million investment that helped add 665,000 square feet to the facility.

Crossovers rolling off the assembly line right now will be held to build inventory ahead of the Atlas' spring launch.

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