Volkswagen I.D. electric car concept, 2016 Paris auto show
As it works toward moving past its diesel-emissions scandal, the Volkswagen Group is making ambitious plans for electric cars.
By 2025, the company hopes to be selling 1 million electric cars per year, and it has said it will launch 30 different electric models across multiple brands in the coming years.
Now VW says some of those cars may be built in North America after 2020.
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That was one aspect of an expansive strategy overhaul announced last month by Herbert Diess, head of the main Volkswagen brand.
Called “Transform 2025+,” the plan focus primarily on expansion of electric-car production, increased emphasis on connectivity, and various measures to improve the VW Group’s profit margins.
The plan indicates that Volkswagen expects to relaunch its attempt to become a much larger presence in the U.S. market.
That effort started in earnest back in 2011 with the opening of a factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the launch of the Americanized Passat mid-size sedan.
According to Diess, the first phase of the new American expansion will be an increased focus on vehicles that are popular with U.S. buyers—namely SUVs and larger sedans.
But the so-called “second stage” involves North American production of electric cars based on the VW Group’s MEB platform, beginning in 2021.
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The MEB platform was designed specifically for compact electric cars, and underpinned two recent Volkswagen electric-car concepts: the Budd-e van and I.D. hatchback.
The Transform 2025+ plan does not say specifically where those electric cars will be built, and the use of “North America” rather than the U.S. specifically offer several possibilities.
Certainly VW has its Tennessee plant, which currently builds the Passat and will soon start production of the 2018 Atlas 7-seat crossover utility vehicle.
But it’s possible that VW Group’s sprawling network of assembly plants in Mexico could be charged with electric-car production instead.
Over the past few years, the corporation has expanded its presence in Mexico, first adding an engine plant in Silao, then adding North American production of the Volkswagen Golf and Audi Q5 to its existing assembly of the Jetta and Beetle.
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Volkswagen currently offers just one electric car in the U.S. under its main brand: the VW e-Golf.
Unlike all other Golf models sold in North America, it is now assembled alongside European-market Golf models in Germany and exported to the U.S. and other markets.
VW currently builds the e-Golf at a plant in Wolfsburg, but also plans to convert the “Transparent Factory” created for its discontinued Phaeton luxury sedan to e-Golf production.
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