Boyd takes delivery of first new VW Atlas in Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd is the first customer to receive Volkswagen’s new Chattanooga-made SUV.

When Boyd was the state’s economic development commissioner, he put a $5,000 deposit on the Atlas SUV in October 2015 when the German automaker was reeling from revelations that its vehicles had been fitted with devices to cheat diesel emissions tests.

Volkswagen’s lone U.S. plant opened in Chattanooga in 2011, and made only the midsized Passat sedan until the addition of the new seven-seat SUV.

The Atlas is key to Volkswagen’s efforts to emerge from the emissions scandal and meet U.S. demand for new SUVs at a time when consumers are picking them over cars.

Several Republicans are expected to join the race to succeed term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam next year.