For Volkswagen to be a genuine rival to Toyota it will have to increase its sales in the U.S., and the key to doing so will be to overcome its current reputation as a manufacturer of low quality and expensive cars. The biggest problem is the fact that most of VW’s lineup is currently imported from Europe (some models come from Mexico), where the strengthening euro is making the cars more expensive than ever.

VW’s solution is to start manufacturing cars in the U.S., a plan that has worked wonders for Toyota as well as luxury brands BMW and Mercedes. Speaking at the Detroit Auto Show, VW exec Ulrich Hackenberg told reporters that VW will locate a site in the U.S. for a new plant by the middle of the year and that any new factory will have to build at least 250,000 vehicles per year. Officials have ruled out a west coast location and are currently investigating sites in the southern states, reports Automotive News.

CEO Martin Winterkorn, meanwhile, said that VW won’t be buying any former Chrysler plants. VW is developing a range of U.S. specific models including two new sedan models, and these are the cars likely to be built at the new site. Hackenberg also revealed that the up! minicar could be an option for the U.S. market but no final decision has been made.