Tenn. leaders try to allay fears about impact of VW scandal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga has long been touted as the crown jewel of Tennessee’s economic development efforts over the last decade. Now, state officials are trying to sooth fears about the potential impact on the factory as an emissions cheating scandal engulfs the German automaker.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said through a spokesman that his administration has “been assured by Volkswagen that they are not going anywhere and will continue to grow in Chattanooga.”

Democratic Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said he has spoken with VW officials who stress that adding the production of a new SUV at the plant remains “critical” to the company’s North American market strategy.

While Republicans in the state Legislature plan hearings, state Democrats are voicing support for VW as “good corporate citizens.”