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Chrysler's Hometown Could Lose Its Other Automaker

Industry News / Comments

FCA's not the only game in town, but it could be soon.

Does the name Auburn Hills ring a bell? That's probably because the southeastern Michigan city has long been the home of Chrysler headquarters, now the US office of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (pictured bottom). It hasn't always been the only game in town, though, but it could be again.

According to Crain's Detroit Business, Volkswagen is considering shutting down its office there and moving out of town. And while the move could cost the city a thousand or so jobs (not to mention a chunk of tax revenues), it could yet prove just a ploy to get more favorable conditions.

Volkswagen of America set up shop in Auburn Hills back in 1991. The 365,000 square-foot building (pictured above) sits at 3800 Hamlin Road, next to transmission supplier BorgWarner's head office, just a five-minute drive from Fiat Chrysler headquarters, and less than ten minutes away from the former Palace of Auburn Hills that once served as the home of the Detroit Pistons basketball team.

The facility served as VW's main office in America until that moved in 2008 to its current home in Herndon, Virginia (below). But the German automaker has maintained the Auburn Hills location for customer service and other functions.

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In 2011, VW considered moving to nearby Troy, Michigan. But after Auburn Hills offered tax breaks, the automaker signed a new lease and invested nearly $20 million into the existing complex.

This latest development could prove a bargaining chip to get further concessions from the city, which appears ready to play ball. "Volkswagen has been in our community for nearly 30 years and it is certainly our goal for them to remain here among all of the automotive industry giants," Mayor Kevin McDaniel told Crain's. "Considering our long-standing cooperative relationship with the company, we have no reason to believe they would choose anywhere but Auburn Hills."

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