"For strong product momentum, they need to be produced in the U.S.A.," Hinrich Woebcken, Volkswagen's CEO of North America, told Autocar. "It's not possible to come into a high-volume scenario with imported cars. We want to localize electric mobility in the U.S."
According to Left Lane News, however, a VW spokesperson countered with a statement saying "we want to build MEB cars locally, but we have not confirmed which cars or the location." Sounds like there's a good chance VW is still scouting locations and running numbers.
It's unknown what role, if any, the threat of tariffs from the Trump administration on imported automobiles is playing in Volkswagen's decision. Volvo on Thursday said it is shifting production of U.S.-bound versions of the XC60 to Europe from China to avoid new duties imposed by Trump on Chinese imports. Trump is also threatening to levy tariffs on foreign-built cars imported to the U.S.
The Volkswagen Group plans to invest $85 billion in developing electric vehicles by 2022. It plans to launch 80 new electric vehicles by 2025 and offer electric versions of each of its 300 group models by 2030, a push that accelerated following the fallout from its "dieselgate" scandal in 2015.
First introduced in Shanghai last year, the I.D. Crozz will come first, with a production version due in 2020 as the first U.S. vehicle from VW's electric lineup. It boasts a driving range projected at 300 miles and will produce 302 horsepower from its 83-kWh battery pack and two electric motors. The production version of the I.D. Buzz electric minibus, meanwhile, is expected in 2022. They're being made possible by VW's modular MEB platform.