VW building "hail net" at its Chattanooga plant

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Volkswagen is putting up a fabric "hail net" at its auto assembly plant in Chattanooga.

Recalling violent storms last spring that damaged more than 100 new Passats on an outdoor lot at the plant, Volkswagen decided to build the $5 million net that will cover about half of the 5,000-space yard.

John Saunders, chief executive of USAShade & Fabric Structures, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press the nets can substantially reduce the risk of damage to vehicles in a hailstorm. The net should be completed by mid-April.

VW officials said a similar net has been installed at the Nissan assembly plant in Smyrna.

Volkswagen builds 35 cars per hour at the plant which surpassed 50,000 vehicles this month.

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