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Florida Gov. Rick Scott and representatives from Volkswagen Group of America Inc., the Florida Department of Transportation, state and local governments, and auto processor AMPORTS on Wednesday announced the Volkswagen Group will import and distribute vehicles through the Port of Jacksonville (JAXPORT).The company plans to import and distribute new Volkswagen, Audi and Bentley vehicles at an 85-acre facility at JAXPORT, beginning May 1. Volkswagen Group will move its import facility for cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and Southeastern U.S. distribution operations to Jacksonville. The company will use the port's AMPORTS auto facility, which will be upgraded.Volkswagen Group estimates it will transport 100,000 vehicles within one year and about 550,000 vehicles in the next five years through JAXPORT. The selection of the port is in line with the company's 260,000-square-foot parts distribution facility in Jacksonville that opened in 2009 and serves 118 Volkswagen and Audi dealers in the Southeast, Volkswagen Group officials said in a press release."Floridians have demonstrated a strong support for the Volkswagen Group of America brands, and selecting the Port of Jacksonville as our Southeastern U.S. port is part of our growth strategy in the Southeast. Florida is our second-largest market behind California," said David Geanacopoulos, Volkswagen Group's executive vice president for public affairs and general counsel.Vehicles to be exported from JAXPORT include the Volkswagen Passat and eventually a new Volkswagen seven-passenger SUV that also will be built in Chattanooga, Tenn. Imported vehicles will include the Volkswagen Golf and Golf GTI. Vehicles arriving at the port will be distributed within Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Mississippi.CSX Transportation serves JAXPORT's Blount Island Marine Terminal, where the AMPORTS facility is located. The Class I currently provides rail service for automobiles from JAXPORT."We look forward to a continued partnership with the port and serving Volkswagen’s rail transport needs from this location," said CSX spokesperson Kristin Seay in an email.
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