For his first visit to Canada, Scott Keogh, President and CEO of Volkswagen of the Americas, arrived empty-handed. Pockets too. However, the North American subsidiary of VW trumpeted, a few weeks ago, investments of some 7 billion dollars over the next five years. These are intended exclusively for Mexico and the United States. For Canada? Nothing.
The main interested party almost apologizes for this and hastens to add that he remains on the lookout for “favourable opportunities to invest in Canada”. For the time being, Volkswagen is mainly intensifying its agreement with Electrify Canada in the construction of new fast and residential charging infrastructures.
The ID.4 is getting closer
Apparently, Volkswagen’s investments will indirectly benefit Canadian consumers. Indeed, a significant part of these sums will be devoted to the American factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which will assemble, from the fall, the ID.4 intended for the American, Canadian and Mexican markets. Until now, the North American supply of this 100% electric utility came exclusively from the facilities in Zwickau, Germany. This, with an annual capacity of some 300,000 units, was struggling to meet global demand.
The Chattanooga plant and the Antig plant in China aim to decentralize production of the ID.4 and reduce waiting times, which in some cases can reach more than two years. At least, that’s what we hope for Volkswagen Canada, which “is still negotiating prices and ID.4 allocations with the Americans,” says a source familiar with the matter. According to the latter, “we should see more clearly during the summer”.
Currently, the capacity of the Chattanooga plant to assemble the ID.4 is between 100,000 and 120,000 units per year, but these new investments will, if we give credence to the rumour, sextuple it.
Our goal is simple, we want to locally produce 94% of the Volkswagens we sell to North American consumers.
Scott Keogh, President and CEO of Volkswagen of the Americas
In addition to the ID.4, Volkswagen of the Americas also intends to reserve an assembly line for the ID.Buzz, a reincarnation of the legendary Microbus of the 1940s. The North American version will notably differ from the one hitherto advertised by its longer wheelbase which, according to some sources, will house in its base a battery of a higher density (read more autonomy).
Scott Keogh skillfully dodges this subject, but confirms however that a recreational version evoking the Westfalia, camping vans of the time, will be added to the catalog of this model expected in showrooms within two years.
Note that, for the time being, the commercial derivative (Panel Van) is not in the plans. Like the characteristics of the North American ID.Buzz, the rates remain secret. Volkswagen of Canada, we learned, wants to put a thousand units into circulation a year. To these two models (ID.4 and ID.Buzz) will be added another, an intermediate SUV this time, starting in 2026.
While some manufacturers doubt the timetable for different legislation to end the sale of new thermal vehicles by 2035, Scott Keogh does not believe it. “Governments have decided in favor of electric and the last thing we need at this stage are undecided elected officials,” he says. This ensures that petrol engines will gradually disappear from the VW catalog by 2030.
“An electric power unit has, just like the internal combustion engine in its time, an extraordinary development potential. On this subject, remember that in its infancy, a V8 only produced 80 hp. Now imagine what we can do in the future with electric. »