VW Next-Gen EVs to Take Over From Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Chattanooga may have been immortalized by the Glenn Miller swing band classic but it could now become the latest focus of Volkswagen’s EV future.

That’s because the German carmaker used the North American International Auto Show to announce it will be extending production at its Tennessee plant to forge ahead with its offensive on the EV market. It will be investing $800M into the production of its modular electric toolkit (MEB) platform starting with the launch in 2020 of the ID. Crozz1 electric SUV.

It said Chattanooga will be part of a worldwide production network of eight MEB plants on three continents. The expansion of the plant will create up to 1,000 new jobs plus additional jobs at suppliers.

Volkswagen added that it wants to make the EV more popular and plans “the largest electric offensive in the automotive industry”. Over the next few years, the brand will be launching more than 20 full electric models. The first of these will be the compact ID., with production starting at the Zwickau plant in Germany from the end of 2019. By 2025, the Volkswagen brand intends to sell at least one million EVs annually throughout the world.

“The US is one of the most important locations for us and producing electric cars in Chattanooga is a key part of our growth strategy in North America,” said Dr Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen. “The management team lead by Scott Keogh is committed to continuing to increase our market share in the coming years. Together with our ongoing investments and this increase in local production, we are strengthening the foundation for sustainable growth of the Volkswagen brand in the US.”

Further MEB plants are being developed in Emden, Hanover, Dresden and Mlada Boleslav in the Czech Republic. The Chinese market will be served by the Anting and Foshan plants.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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