Volkswagen Breaks Ground on Chattanooga Plant Expansion; Battery Facility Incoming

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
volkswagen breaks ground on chattanooga plant expansion battery facility incoming

Volkswagen’s investment into its U.S. manufacturing presence doesn’t end with an expansion of its only domestic assembly plant. The battery packs needed to power a new range of fully electric models will originate at the same site.

The automaker announced the kickoff of construction Wednesday, detailing how it plans to spend its $800 million.

The cash will support the construction of an electric vehicle production facility to supply Americans with future ID.-badged models. It will take the form of a 564,000-square-foot expansion of the existing Chattanooga, Tennessee body shop, in which both gas- and electric-powered models will be built on the same assembly line. Production begins in 2022, by which time the plant’s ranks should expand by 1,000 workers.

Along with the new plant space, VW intends to build a 198,000-square-foot facility tasked with making battery packs.

“This is a big, big moment for this company,” said Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh during a splashy kickoff event. “Expanding local production sets the foundation for our sustainable growth in the U.S. Electric vehicles are the future of mobility and Volkswagen will build them for millions, not just millionaires. ”

The first VW electrics to reach U.S. buyers won’t hail from Chattanooga, however. The I.D. Crozz, a compact crossover slated to enter production in Zwickau, Germany late next year or in early 2021, will carry the ID.4 name when it enters U.S. showrooms. The country’s supply will switch to Chattanooga after things get up and running there. Follow-up models are expected.

An electric crossover isn’t the only near-term vehicle bound for the plant. Last month, VW began production of the Atlas Cross Sport, a two-row, sportified version of the Atlas that shares its birthplace with its (slightly) bigger brother and the Passat sedan.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Nov 13, 2019

    I think these guys mean business. VW is the only mfr Tesla should worry about. Nobody else is close to this serious. BTW, note how much space they're adding vs how many more workers. Lots of automation = lots of volume potential.

    • Brettc Brettc on Nov 13, 2019

      I agree, so it'll be interesting to see how the ID models are received in the US. Even though it's supposed to be brand neutral, the Electrify America charging stations should help them as well. My local Walmart now has 4 chargers that are almost ready to go.

  • Imagefont Imagefont on Nov 13, 2019

    I don’t think VW would enter the space unless they thought they could do it profitably. But these are the same guys who thought Cheat-ware was the answer to their problems and that didn’t work out so well. I hope they are successful.

    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Nov 13, 2019

      And they are also the same guys who thought they can swallow Soviet Union and do not choke. Too much arrogance though.

  • MaintenanceCosts All I want is one more cylinder. One more cylinder and I would happily pay the diesel fraud company almost whatever they wanted for it.
  • SPPPP US like Citroen - nothing moves.
  • Jeff S Corey--Thanks again for this serious and despite the lack of comments this is an excellent series. Powell Crosley does not get enough recognition and is largely forgotten even in his hometown of Cincinnati although the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Airport has 2 Crosley cars on display. Crosley revolutionized radios by making an affordable radio that the masses could afford similar to what Henry Ford did with the Model T. Both Crosley and Ford did not invent the radio and the car but they made them widespread by making them affordable. I did not know about the Icyball but I did know about Crosley refrigerators, airplanes, cars, and radios.
  • Oberkanone C5 Aircross is the only vehicle that would have any appeal in North America. Can't see it doing well with Citroen badge, maybe a chance with Chrysler badge.
  • Oberkanone 1921 thru 1936 are the best