By on November 13, 2019

Volkswagen Chattanooga Tower

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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7 Comments on “Volkswagen Breaks Ground on Chattanooga Plant Expansion; Battery Facility Incoming...”

  • avatar

    What happens when no one buys any electric VWs? They already struggle at selling Gas vehicles, should have stuck to diesel.

    • 0 avatar

      Volkswagen struggles to sell cars **in the united states**, because their cars have been poorly suited to the American duty cycle — in size/shape, and in reliability.

      I’m hopeful that a humbled Volkswagen may be more willing to build cars for their potential customers, rather than just blaming their potential customers for buying the wrong thing.

      I like EVs enough that even I will take a second look at VW’d EVs. I’ll probably buy a Tesla Model Y in August, but I’ll take a second look at VW — which is saying a lot given how my last VW ownership experience went.

      P.S. The VW Atlas is by far the most common Volkswagen around here, and has been ever since it went on sale. It’s the right size and shape for the American duty cycle. It’s a start!

  • avatar

    Who is the technology partner for this plant? SK of South Korea? Or is VW developing its own battery tech?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

  • avatar

    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.

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