VW Starts US Production of ID.4 Electric Crossover

The Volkswagen ID.4 compact SUV recently made its debut in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as the company’s first electric automobile produced in the United States. It was already being imported from Germany, but now US Volkswagen dealers will get American-built cars to sell to eager buyers who are paying big for gas right now.

“We’re just starting to write a new chapter for Volkswagen in America, and it is very much an American story,” said Thomas Schäfer, Chairman of the global Volkswagen brand. “When we promised to bring Volkswagen EVs to the millions, it always included American workers building those EVs right there in Chattanooga. We couldn’t be prouder to see that vision realized today with our ID.4 electric flagship rolling off the lines. This is another milestone in Volkswagen’s ambitious electrification strategy for the US market and globally.”

The ID.4 is by far the most popular all-electric model from the Volkswagen Group, having sold 190,000 units to customers worldwide since its inception in 2021. Later this year, Volkswagen plans to increase ID.4 production in Chattanooga to 7,000 vehicles per month, with the aim of increasing output even more through 2023. Consumers can anticipate their cars to arrive as early as October 2022. The American-built ID.4 will initially be offered in two battery configurations, a rear-wheel-drive version with a 82kWh battery and an all-wheel-drive model with a 62kWh battery. A rear-wheel-drive version with a 62kWh battery will join the lineup in 2023.

In order to accommodate ID.4 production, Volkswagen is actively hiring more than 1,000 new team members at its Chattanooga plant through 2022. The $800 million investment by Volkswagen into its Chattanooga factory’s electric conversion, which includes specialized facilities for vehicle and battery pack production, is what sparked the beginning of production. The Tennessee plant is now the sixth worldwide site to build cars for Volkswagen’s electric lineup.

“There has been a tremendous effort by thousands of VW Chattanooga employees to bring this vision to life,” said Chris Glover, President and CEO, Volkswagen Chattanooga Operations, LLC. “I’d like to thank all our highly motivated team members and the extended community of Chattanooga for supporting us as we begin assembly of the ID.4 for the North American market.”

The German-designed ID.4, the electric SUV line’s flagship, will largely be made from components and materials made in North America, particularly the United States. Steel from Alabama and Ohio, to interior components in Indiana and South Carolina, and electronics components in Kentucky and North Carolina are among the materials and components put together in this vehicle. The EV battery will come from SK Innovation’s plant located in Georgia.

My Thoughts

In some ways, this echoes the experience of other foreign car manufacturers who brought EV production to the United States. For example, Nissan’s LEAF vehicles initially all came from Japan, but it later opened a plant in Tennessee that produced the cars. Now, Volkswagen is following a similar pattern, with global production starting outside the United States, and then moving toward local production and local supply chains.

This is a great step for the company, and a great step for the clean industrial base in the United States.


 

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