Randy Boyd, Republican candidate for governor and former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, bought the first customer Volkswagen Atlas sold in the nation Thursday.
Boyd has been a leading advocate for Volkswagen's growing success in Chattanooga.
During Volkswagen's emissions debacle, he made a down payment to reserve the first Atlas SUV off the line as a show of support and confidence in the men and women who work at Volkswagen in Chattanooga.
"There [were] a lot of Tennesseans working in this factory that were feeling demoralized," Boyd said. "So I decided to come down to the dealership and write a check to say that 'I believe in you enough to make a deposit on this car a year and a half before it's ready to be produced.'"
Production of the new Atlas SUV and other VW vehicles in Chattanooga helps generate more than 12,000 direct and indirect jobs across the state, according to the news release.
Boyd purchased his Atlas from Village Volkswagen of Chattanooga, located at 6001 International Drive.
Village VW general manager Jeremy Holsomback said there's high demand for this vehicle.
"We've got a number of vehicles scheduled to be delivered tonight and seven or eight that are scheduled to hit the ground in the next few days," he said. "We've got another several vehicles that are special order that are in the process of being made."
Boyd plans to make the Atlas his main campaign vehicle as he travels across the state, replacing his current Chevy Suburban.
Eric Wise is a contributing writer. He is currently attending UTC, where he is a staff writer for the school newspaper, The University Echo. He also serves as the alumni relations chairman for his fraternity.