Volkswagen Newsroom

Volkswagen launches plant expansion to assemble electric vehicles in America

November 13, 2019

It’s been less than nine years since the first Passat rolled out of the then-new Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, Tenn. Since then, the factory has assembled hundreds of thousands of Passat vehicles and Atlas SUVs, and just last month began assembling its third model, the Atlas Cross Sport five-seater SUV.

Today, Volkswagen and government officials marked the start of the process that will end with the fourth new vehicle rolling out of Chattanooga – and the first long-range electric vehicle assembled by Volkswagen in North America.

Thanks to a factory expansion of about $800 million that’s expected to add about 1,000 jobs, Volkswagen plans to begin assembling the production version of the ID. CROZZ at the plant in 2022, based on its flexible modular electric toolkit platform also known as MEB.


“This is a big, big moment for this company,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “Expanding local production sets the foundation for our sustainable growth in the U.S. Electric vehicles are the future of mobility and Volkswagen will build them for millions, not just millionaires.”

The expansion includes a 564,000-square-foot addition to the body shop. At completion, Volkswagen will produce internal combustion engines and battery-electric vehicles on the same assembly line, an efficient and unusual combination. In addition, Volkswagen will add a new 198,000-sq. ft. facility to assemble battery packs for electric vehicles.

This investment in Chattanooga is part of Volkswagen’s larger, global commitment to EVs. Earlier this year, the Volkswagen Group announced its plan to pledge approximately $33 billion through 2023 toward the development and production of EVs worldwide. Beyond a production version of the ID. CROZZ, Volkswagen has pledged to bring the ID. BUZZ to market in the United States, with plans for more electric models to come in the future. The initial version of the ID. CROZZ production car will be made in Germany before production moves to the United States.

“With Volkswagen’s expansion, Tennessee is on the cutting edge of the move to electric vehicles and our workforce is up to the challenge,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. “We look forward to a continued partnership with VW and the growth of advanced manufacturing in Chattanooga and beyond.”

For #ByeByeBeetle, a 700-hp tribute at SEMA

November 8, 2019
HPA’s custom-built HPA FTX700 Volkswagen Beetle at the 2019 SEMA show. Disclaimers: Modifying vehicles can adversely affect warranty coverage & compliance with required safety and other standards. Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale. Specifications may change.

A skeleton-head shifter, seven-speed DSG transmission and a matte Army green finish are hardly the features you’d associate with a beloved Volkswagen Beetle. But for Marcel Horn, the founder and president of a Canadian custom auto shop HPA Motorsports, it’s the perfect sinister flavor for his custom Beetle build.

“The Beetle can be a little cheeky, devilish critter,” said Horn, who debuted a custom Beetle at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in 1999. “That Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde, white angel-red devil on your shoulder personality—the Beetle has both qualities, and that’s what we wanted to convey with this tribute build.”

Introduced to America as the Type 1, Volkswagen has sold nearly five million Beetles in the United States, and a worldwide total of approximately 21.5 million cars. After roughly seven decades of production and three generations of designs, the company retired the iconic vehicle this past June.

When Horn and his team heard that the Beetle was coming to the end of its lifecycle, they knew they wanted to say goodbye in the best way they knew how: revealing a custom-built HPA FTX700 Volkswagen Beetle at the 2019 SEMA show.

“The entire essence of the SEMA show is personalization for the look of aesthetics and performance, and the Beetle is by far one of the most personalize-able vehicles on the planet,” said Horn.

Horn’s love for the Beetle dates to his parents: he was brought home from the hospital in a Volkswagen Type 3, and his daily commute to and from elementary school was in a 1976 Rabbit, which later became his first car.

“There isn’t a person we could walk up to in a restaurant or venue who hasn’t had a Beetle touch their life in some way,” said Horn. Instead of a normal college trajectory, Horn got his degree in mechanical engineering and business and took night classes while running HPA fulltime out of his garage. HPA has now been in business for nearly 30 years and prides themselves off their creative takes on classic cars, like the Beetle.

“In a day and age before the internet and smartphones, Volkswagen offered this inherent interchangeability,” Horn said. “The fact that you could change the attitude and styling because of the cross-platform interchangeability”

With a willing customer on deck, over the course of two years, the team worked on almost every part of a 2016 Beetle Dune. Swapping the car’s original engine for a fully built 3.2L 6-cylinder engine, HPA fitted a seven-speed transmission, mated to an all-wheel-drive drivetrain. The combination delivers 700 hp and 800 lb.-ft. of torque to this Beetle Dune’s custom 19” HRE RS105M monoblock wheels.

HPA’s custom-built HPA FTX700 Volkswagen Beetle at the 2019 SEMA show. Disclaimers: Modifying vehicles can adversely affect warranty coverage & compliance with required safety and other standards. Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale. Specifications may change.

“As you do anything with infatuated circumstances, you take a basic idea, and the complexity and the detail level in front of you grows,” said Horn. “With the exception of the bumpers, there is not a bolt, a nut, a shifted cable, a widget, an electronic control module, a wiring harness, a floorboard panel, tub suspension segment that has not been engineered, designed or built.”

Heading into SEMA this week, Horn is counting on two things to capture attendees’ attention with the vehicle: that those who understand the technicalities of the design will pause and indulge in the details, and that more general SEMA visitors will be lured over to the Beetle by its sinister stance. That combination has already landed this tuned Beetle on the shortlist of cars vying in SEMA’s Battle of the Builders award.

“It feels surreal for me as the owner and someone who has been such a passionate fan of the Beetle to have the opportunity at SEMA,” Horn said. “To be part of this is more than dreams are made of…I just hope we aid in leaving a memorable mark for the Beetle in everyone’s minds that walk through the show.”


Four Volkswagen Chattanooga employees share spotlight in new campaign

November 7, 2019

Assembling the Atlas, Passat and upcoming Atlas Cross Sport in Chattanooga, Tenn., takes thousands of people working closely together. For the next several weeks, Volkswagen will highlight four of these employees in a new advertising campaign that demonstrates their passion for their work.

From engineering and paint to assembly and final inspection, each worker introduced in the series shares insight into their life and how dedicated they are to their role in the assembly process. “I take so much pride in what I do,” says Brittany, one of the Paint Finesse team members who give final inspections to vehicle finishes. “I’ve been trained to notice things that most human eyes don’t see.”

Take a look at how Ben, a mechanical engineer, uses his passion as an amateur racer to bring quality to life every day at Chattanooga, and stay tuned for more stories over the next few weeks.

Radical rides of the ‘80s and ‘90s get their own moment at Radwood

November 4, 2019
Radwood Detroit 2019.

It may be 2019, but the ‘90s are slowly returning to the spotlight. Choker necklaces, fanny packs and neon jackets are now ubiquitous at shopping malls. Similarly, 90s cars are getting another chance in the limelight, thanks in large part to Radwood.

Radwood, a car-centric festival that highlights the good, bad and rad cars, clothes and culture from the ’80s and ‘90s offers a wholly different feel than a traditional vintage car show. Attendees forego the blazer and button-down look for multicolor track jackets and flannel.

Co-founder Bradley Brownell in his “rad” period attire. (Photo provided by Bradley Brownell)

Launched in 2017, the event highlights an often ignored and underappreciated period of cars – and its popularity has struck a chord, especially Generation X enthusiasts.

“We decided that the cars that we grew up with – the cars that we were familiar with – were the ones we were most interested in because they were, frankly, what we owned. There was really nowhere for them to exist in the car show sphere,” says Bradley Brownell, one of the show’s co-founders. “They were excluded from general car culture.”

The scene at Radwood LA 2018. (Photo by Matt Brown)

Brownell and four other co-founders – all self-proclaimed enthusiasts and automotive podcast creators – began laying the groundwork for the first Radwood event in 2016. After minimal promotion on social media and through word of mouth, the first event was held in June 2017.

Inspired by a popular three-day motor racing event in the United Kingdom, Brownell and company embraced the music and culture of the era, encouraged spectators to show up in “rad” period attire and awarded prizes to best-dressed attendees. “Back then, we held the show for ourselves and our friends at a local park in San Francisco,” he said. “As luck would have it, 250 cars showed up. That’s when we knew we had something on our plate.”

Radwood Detroit 2019.

The co-founders host on average one car show a month in different cities across the country, including Austin, Boston and Detroit, with an average of 300 cars appearing per show. They held their first international show in the UK this past year.

So why did Brownell and his comrades want to spotlight these overlooked models? “The reason we love these cars,” Brownell explained, is that “they are advanced enough to be reliable and easy to drive, but simple enough that you can still work on them in your own garage.”

Radwood Detroit 2019.


One letter that stands for performance: Volkswagen R

October 28, 2019

The story of VW R begins, as many things do at Volkswagen, with the VW Beetle.

In the early 1970s, European fans of the Beetle prevailed on the company to create a limited-edition version for rallying, with upgraded suspensions and brakes. Volkswagen painted the cars in a special yellow-and-black livery and called them the Beetle GSR, or “Gelb Schwarz Renner” – German for “yellow-black racer.”

Today, the spirit of that GSR and other Volkswagen motorsports efforts lives on in the Volkswagen R division, through the Golf R and sporty R-Line trims of many Volkswagen models. And the new 2020 Atlas Cross Sport debuts a new version of the R logo.

“Volkswagen R is all about excitement and thrill,” says Jost Capito, Managing Director of Volkswagen R. “In the future, we will continue to focus our efforts on integrating these emotions into the Volkswagen brand.”

The modern incarnation of Volkswagen R began in 2002 with the reveal of the first Golf R32. The development of the car’s narrow-angle VR6 made it possible to squeeze six cylinders pumping 238 hp under the hood of the Mk4 Golf. To handle the power, the R32 used all-wheel-drive; it was also the world’s first production car with a race-inspired dual-clutch automated manual gearbox, an innovation in shifting that quickly spread to performance cars around the world.

The fifth-generation Golf brought an upgraded Golf R32, which due to economic conditions was only sold in the United States for the 2008 model year. Power rose to 250 hp, and production was limited to just 5,000 vehicles. This version set the template for R vehicles to come: Ample power and impressive handling in a small car that was still as functional and enjoyable for everyday driving as a conventional Golf.

Two more generations of Golf R would reach America, with the latest 2019 edition rated at 288 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, paired to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG transmission.

Meanwhile, the performance of the R group’s vehicles has inspired the look of the R-Line appearance packages. From here forward, the R unit will be identified by a new logo, developed at the Volkswagen Design Center.

“The R marks the athletic apex of our model program and the R logo serves as an expression of both aesthetics and sportsmanship,” says Klaus Bischoff, Head of Volkswagen Design.

A ballpark bucket list: 60 days, 30 baseball stadiums, two friends – and one Jetta

October 24, 2019

Baseball and road trips are two of America’s favorite summer pastimes. Lyndon Suvanto, 27, and Dusan Krstic, 26, decided to combine the two and make it their summer mission to see every top-tier American baseball team play in their home stadium.

The Canadian natives and ardent baseball fans hatched their cross-country plan while playing professional handball overseas. They began saving up funds and planning their two-month road trip in late 2018.

“I figured now was the time to make it happen,” says Suvanto. “I wasn’t in a committed relationship or in a career I couldn’t get away from. Also, a lot of my favorite players are approaching retirement.”

To get to all 30 stadiums, the friends would have to be smart and strategic, and put in some very long hours behind the wheel. They purposely chose Krstic’s 2017 Jetta to make the trip because of the car’s fuel-efficiency1 and highway sureness. “It was amazing for us,” says Suvanto. “We put 35,000 kilometers on it and never had an issue.”

The pair kicked off their patriotic journey in Seattle on July 4 and drove the California coast before hitting the southern states and East Coast. At each location, they would snap a photograph with their homemade sign, which was outfitted with a giant stadium counter that would increase as each game passed.

The sign garnered the pair much attention, leading to screen time on jumbotrons and on television. People, in turn, would often offer to chip in funds for gas money and road trip grub. “I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly, kind and open-minded everyone was along the way,” Suvanto said.

At night, they would take turns sleeping and driving, and often crashed in their royal blue compact sedan — a slight challenge for two men over 6’3” in height. Suvanto would often take up the entire back seat while Krstic would sleep towards the front of the car.

The baseball buffs also added fun, cultural stops along their route, including the Vegas strip, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park. They even built in a break in Scranton, Pa., to pay homage to one of their favorite television sitcoms. They also created social media accounts devoted to the trip, so friends and family members could check-in regularly on their adventures and progress.

Suvanto and Krstic completed their mission on Sept. 1 in Denver. “I think 95% of people believed we were full of [it] or would give up before we even got to the border,” says Suvanto, laughing. “We almost couldn’t believe it ourselves that we had made it and got to our final stop … It felt like we had really accomplished something.”


Nike offers pop-up experiences across America starring the Volkswagen ID. BUZZ CARGO

October 15, 2019

Founded by University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman and Oregon native Phil Knight, Nike began as the athletic shoe company Blue Ribbon Sports back in 1964. Nike’s first employee, Jeff Johnson, opened the company’s original brick-and-mortar storefront in Santa Monica, Calif., in 1967. When not manning the shop, Johnson would often drive his personal vehicle – a Volkswagen Type 2 bus – to local track meets to sell and deliver products directly to local runners out of the bus.

Photo credit: Nike

In a homage to the brand’s roots, Nike wrapped the Volkswagen ID. BUZZ CARGO electric concept van in original Blue Ribbon Sports fashion The new-age delivery vehicle toured three major U.S. cities, kicking off in Santa Monica on Oct. 5, stopping in Chicago on Oct. 12 and concluding in New York City on Oct. 15.

At each location, fans were able to purchase exclusive Blue Ribbon Sports footwear, learn about Nike’s genesis and participate in Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program, on theme with Volkswagen’s “Drive Bigger” message. Nike’s program collects used athletic shoes and transforms them into surface materials for running tracks, athletic fields and school playgrounds.

Concept vehicle shown.  Not available for sale. Specifications may change.

Fans of both Nike and Volkswagen also got an up close look at the ID. BUZZ CARGO concept vehicle, which debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November. Built off the MEB electric platform, the ID. BUZZ CARGO imagines what a commercial vehicle version of the upcoming ID. BUZZ – part of Volkswagen’s worldwide plan to build about 1 million electric vehicles by 2025 – could be.

The exclusive footwear available at the pop-up locations includes the bright orange Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 and classic Cortez ’72, which was one of the first sneakers to don Nike’s iconic logo. Sneakerheads take note: inventory of each design will be limited to 3,107 pairs, a nod to Blue Ribbon Sports’ original Santa Monica storefront address of 3107 Pico Boulevard.

“To learn Volkswagen played such an important role in Nike’s early history is a really big deal to us,” said Saad Chehab, senior vice president of Volkswagen brand marketing.

“Supporting the rebirth of BRS is the perfect platform to help promote the values of our companies, while showing the world Volkswagen’s commitment to electrification isn’t just about personal transportation – it’s about moving things in a smarter fashion.”

The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport adds some American-made style to SUVs

October 11, 2019

For most households, buying a new car may be the second biggest purchase they ever make behind a house itself. And if you’re going to spend that money, shouldn’t your family vehicle look not just good, but great?

That’s the idea behind the newest Volkswagen in America, the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport,1 revealed today in Chattanooga. Meant for those drivers who need five seats in an SUV instead of seven, the Atlas arrives with a strong sense of design that reflects what buyers most want in this type of vehicle.

“Building off the success of the Atlas seven-seater midsize SUV, we see an opportunity for a five-seater model that offers even more style and almost as much interior space,” said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “We look forward to entering this growing segment with the Atlas Cross Sport, which offers outstanding Volkswagen technology, driver assistance features, style, and value.”

Part of an estimated $340 million investment by Volkswagen at its Tennessee factory, the Atlas Cross Sport was developed by Volkswagen’s North American Region specifically for U.S. buyers.  It joins the Atlas and the Passat as Volkswagen’s models assembled in America – with more to come, as Volkswagen plans to assemble electric vehicles there in the future.

It’s not just that the Atlas Cross Sport carries a more aggressively sloped rear pillar and hatch that gives it a racing-inspired profile. Most of its design elements have been updated from the Atlas, in the spirit of the concept from the 2018 New York auto show, from a new grille with a full-width light signature to sculpted bumpers front and rear, along with a variety of wheel options, with dramatic looks up to 21 inches on the R-Line trim.

Inside, the Atlas Cross Sport also takes design in a new direction. A next-generation Volkswagen steering wheel makes its debut with more intuitive controls. The seats can be specified with color-contrasting inserts and matching door panels, along with stitching accents.

While the Atlas Cross Sport is 5.3 inches shorter than the seven-seat Atlas, the two share the same wheelbase (117.3 inches). That allows the Atlas Cross Sport to offer a cavernous interior for a five-seat SUV, with 111.8 cubic feet of passenger space and 40.4 inches of rear-seat legroom. For those who need to haul goods, there’s 40.3 cu. ft. of luggage space behind the second row, and 77.8 cu. ft. with the second row folded.


Along with the new design comes a long list of new technology, especially advanced driver assistance features. Two new features include Traffic Jam Assist, which helps keep the Atlas Cross Sport moving in stop-and-go traffic up to 37 mph, and Dynamic Road Sign Display, which works with the factory navigation system to display key road data like speed limits. The base S model has standard Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Braking (Front Assist), Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Traffic Alert. Further up the trim walk, features such as Adaptive Cruise Control with a Stop and Go feature and Park Distance Control become standard.

And the new Car-Net® 2.0 with available Wi-Fi hotspot is standard, with a long list of no-charge services for five years, and new subscription options.

The Atlas Cross Sport offers the same engine options as the seven-seat Atlas: the 276-horsepower VR6 (late availability) and a four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Both engines pair with an eight-speed automatic transmission and can come with Volkswagen’s 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system. The V6 is rated at 5,000 pounds for towing, when equipped with the V6 Towing package.

Whatever you haul, the Atlas Cross Sport will offer a more stylish way to do it when it arrives on the roads early next year.

‘It’s always about the kids’: Celebrating Kimberly Tuttle on World Teacher’s Day

October 4, 2019

To mark World Teachers’ Day, an international celebration of educators, Volkswagen is celebrating Kimberly Tuttle and the positive impact she has had on her students’ lives.

“This is my 21st year teaching,” Tuttle says, “and it is truly a dream.”

A native of Blacksburg, Va., Tuttle teaches 11th grade English honors and advanced placement language and composition in Charlotte, N.C. Her excellence was recognized early on in her career by her peers and community and she was named her school district’s New Teacher of the Year in 1998.

More than two decades later, she was again honored by the school district and named its 2019 Teacher of the Year. She was selected out of 10,000 other educators to receive the top honor. “It was the highlight of my teaching career,” said Tuttle, choked with emotion.

Tuttle follows in the steps of her own mother, an elementary school teacher for 32 years who passed down her joy and passion for educating. “I learned from my mom that it’s always, always about the kids,” says Tuttle. “You have to teach to the heart of a child and that’s what I try to do in my classroom.”

Volkswagen agrees that education should be cherished and pledged to donate a total of $1 million to to help teachers by funding classroom projects across America. Volkswagen dealers received donation cards pre-loaded with funds from Volkswagen and shared them with customers during the “Drive Bigger” Summer Event.

In recognition of Tuttle’s latest accomplishment, she received a year-long lease on a black Jetta (that she’s named “Jenna”) from a local dealership. “At the time I [received Jenna], I was driving a van. It was old and the girls never wanted me to pick them up from school because it’s not cool to have that kind of a van,” Tuttle said, laughing. “When I won this award and the local Volkswagen dealership gave me a lease, I was like a kid in a candy store.”

“Now I am the cool mom because of the car that I’m driving,” Tuttle added, smiling, “and they love Jenna the Jetta.”

How plaid became part of Volkswagen Golf GTI history

October 4, 2019

No car has a claim to fame on a day to celebrate all things plaid quite like the Volkswagen Golf GTI – thanks to one woman’s pioneering choices that over the past four decades have become a symbol of driving enthusiasts worldwide.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI’s debut in 1976 caused a sensation. Even though only a few details distinguished it visually from the original Golf, Volkswagen—influenced by one of the company’s first female designers—succeeded in transforming the compact car into an affordable sports car for the masses and capturing the mood of the era.

Gunhild Liljequist—a porcelain painter and chocolatier candy-box designer by trade—was hired on to Volkswagen’s Germany-based Department of Fabrics and Colors in Wolfsburg in 1964 when she was just 28. Her work focused on paint hues, trims and interior detailing, so when the first Golf GTI came into production in the 1970s, she was tasked with designing various elements of its interior from a sporting angle. Liljequist’s genius centered on giving the GTI two distinct, but simple, textile elements: a tartan seat pattern and a golf ball-style gear knob.

“Black was sporty, but I also wanted color and quality,” Liljequist said. “I took a lot of inspiration from my travels around Great Britain and I was always taken by high-quality fabrics with checked patterns … you could say that there is an element of British sportiness in the GTI.”

And the golf ball gear knob?

“That was a completely spontaneous idea!” Liljequist said. “I just expressed my sporting and golf associations out loud: ‘how about a golf ball as the gear knob?’”

Although her ideas faced some resistance, the tartan seat pattern, now known as “Clark Plaid,” and golf ball knob would become an iconic part of the GTI.

For a woman who personally loved just black and white patterns, color illuminated Liljequist’s professional world throughout her 30-year career at Volkswagen. The 1960 to the 1980s were a highly creative and experimental time in car design, and Liljequist’s work help to influence some of Volkswagen’s most iconic paint hues, trims and interior detailing, while designing some special models of her own.

Beyond the Golf GTI, her two most notable contributions to the car world was her 1987 limited edition ‘Etienne Aigner’ Mk1 Golf Cabriolet—a car design influenced by the luxury maker of handbags, luggage and various other leather accessories—and her discovery of an iridescent, pearl color that she applied to a car’s surface, using a transparent foil. The metallic quality of paint on modern cars today is in part the result of Liljuquist’s experimentation in paint and coloring. Liljuquist retired in 1991, but her legacy is literally stitched into the fabric of Volkswagen.

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Bud Brown Volkswagen
Bud Brown Volkswagen
925 N Rawhide Dr
Olathe, KS, 66061 US
Bud Brown Volkswagen 38.892564, -94.789324.