Strong VW sales good news for East Tennessee economy


a302d2ef6a6f5800030f6a706700d741.jpgVolkswagen of America Inc. today reported that 2011 sales were the best in nine years, helped by an strong increase in sales of the Chattanooga-built Passat.

Total VW sales in the Unites States last year were 324,402 units, a 26.3 percent increase from 2010 and the best since 2002, the company announced.

Passat sales soared in 2011 with 22,779 units sold, a 124 percent increase from 2010.


Other automakers are also reporting strong 2011 sales. Chrysler sales rose 26 percent,  Ford sales jumped 11 percent and General Motors sales increased 13 percent.

Improving auto sales are a clear sign that consumers feel better about their prospects.

And that’s good news for the regional economy and the thousands of East Tennesseans whose jobs depend on the auto industry. According to the Greater Knoxville Business Journal’s 2012 Book of Lists, auto parts makers account for nearly 11,000 jobs in the region.

Add the more than 2,000 jobs that VW has at its Chattanooga plant and it’s clear that strong auto sales will be a major boost for the East Tennessee economy.

Photo:In this Nov. 16, 2011 file photo, Jonathan Browning, left, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, and Frank Fisher, head of the Volkswagen production facility in Chattanooga, Tenn., pose with a Volkswagen Passat and the award it received as Motor Trend Car of the Year for 2012 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Volkswagen of America Inc. said Wednesday that its sales jumped 26.3 percent in 2011 on strong demand for its top-selling Jetta models and redesigned Passat sedan. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)