Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday raised the prospect of Volkswagen locating its new North American headquarters in the state, only to try to walk back those comments later in the day.
Haslam was asked during a question-and-answer session at the Southern Automotive Conference about Volkswagen’s status in Tennessee in the wake of a diesel emissions cheating scandal that has rocked the German automaker.
The Republican governor responded that he has been in close contact with officials in Germany and at Volkswagen’s lone U.S. plant in Chattanooga since news of the scandal broke.
“We have a lot of hopes that Chattanooga could become not just the headquarters for North America, but really the center for operations for Volkswagen,” Haslam said. “So if something like this happens it’s obviously really concerning for us.”
When questioned by reporters following another speech later in the day, Haslam appeared to disavow those comments.
“I didn’t mean physically the headquarters,” Haslam said. “Excuse me if I wasn’t clear on that this morning — what they said is that Chattanooga is going to be the hub for all of our operations in North America.”