Volkswagen is reportedly eyeing to expand its production capacity in the United States (US), and dedicate it to building the ID. Buzz and an electric pickup truck as not only consumer demand are increasing for battery-powered vehicles but also the consortium eyes growing its market share in the country.
The rumored production growth was reported by Reuters on April 28, 2022, as a source close to the matter told the publication about Volkswagen Group (VAG) plans in the country, considered one of the biggest automotive markets in the world. Per Focus2Move, a market intelligence and consulting firm specializing in all things automotive, the US was the second-largest car market globally, with almost 15 million vehicle sales in 2021, making up 17.8% of the world’s sales volume of the four-wheel apparatus. China was the number one market with just shy of 25 million vehicles sold in the same year.
VAG would increase the production capacity at its Chattanooga, Tennessee site, where it has been operating since April 2011, producing a US-tailored version of the Volkswagen Passat. The expansion would result in the ID. Buzz, an all-electric van, and an electric pickup truck built in the Volunteer State.
While Volkswagen has been present in the United States since the 1950s, the site in Chattanooga was the car maker’s first manufacturing site in the US, complementing the group’s Puebla, Mexico factory.
While since 2011 the Tennessee-based site has also manufactured the Volkswagen Atlas since 2017, it has only added one additional model, namely the ID.4, to the lineup of the manufacturing site. Even then, it was only a pre-production run in the summer of 2021, as Volkswagen will produce the ID.4 beginning either September or October 2022.
In late-2019, VAG announced that it would expand the site by investing $800 million and that Chattanooga would become “Volkswagen's North American assembly base for electric vehicles on the Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB).” However, the company did not indicate which model of the MEB it would produce at the site at the time, which would be commencing production sometime in 2022.
“The company also announced it intends to build a plant for the assembly of battery packs for EVs at the Chattanooga site,” also read VW’s press release from November 2019. Almost a year later, the group also indicated that it has ordered over 2,200 robots to “step up the pace of transformation to the e-mobility era,” including the factory in the US.
Volkswagen electrifying the lineup
“At Emden and Chattanooga, we are developing two of the most advanced production facilities in the automotive industry for the transformation to e-mobility,” at the time stated Christian Vollmer, the Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand responsible for Production and Logistics.
And now, reportedly, Volkswagen is looking to add the ID. Buzz and a pickup that is yet-to-be-announced to the production site. While Volkswagen has been already producing the Amarok since 2010, it has not been available in the US. However, with the new model, it has been widely rumored that the Amarok, based on the Ford Ranger, would finally make it over the pond on paper and be turned into a tangible four-wheel machine in Chattanooga.
The electrification of the manufacturer’s lineup is part of Volkswagen’s ACCELERATE strategy, which was unveiled in March 2021. The strategy focuses on transforming the company’s image into “the most attractive brand for sustainable mobility.”