As the industry continues to recover and deal with the global pandemic, Volkswagen has remained aggressive in bolstering its engineering, production and logistical footprint in the U.S. as it moves ahead with new vehicle introductions, including its first all-electric SUV, the Volkswagen ID.4 EV, which is expected to hit dealers in early 2021.
“The introduction of the ID.4, our new compact SUV the Volkswagen Taos and rising vehicle quality have given us real momentum heading into 2021,” said Johan de Nysschen, Chief Operating Officer, Volkswagen Group of America. “It’s important that the infrastructure supporting our products continues to grow in the U.S. as we aim to deliver more vehicles designed in the market, for the market at the right time and at the right price.”
This month, Volkswagen announced the addition of a 51-vehicle charge park at its Innovation and Engineering Center California (IECC) in Silicon Valley. Combined with the facility’s existing chargers, the IECC becomes one of largest publicly accessible charge parks in the Bay Area. All Volkswagen Group of America employees will have free access to the stations and open stations are accessible to the public at a cost. The chargers were installed as part of a grant issued to Volkswagen by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
In November, Volkswagen broke ground on its new Battery Engineering Lab at its Chattanooga, Tennessee Engineering and Planning Center (EPC). The new lab will join Volkswagen Chattanooga’s electric vehicle production expansion and battery pack assembly facility, now under-construction, to form VW’s hub for electric vehicle (EV) production and engineering in North America. This lab will be the third facility of its kind for the global Volkswagen Group. VW is investing an estimated $800 million to assemble EVs in the U.S., including the ID.4 SUV, at its Chattanooga factory starting in 2022 , and projects that more than 1,000 new jobs will be created because of the expansions. Currently, the Chattanooga plant produces the Volkswagen Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport SUVs along with the Passat sedan. The nearby EPC provides engineering support for the plant along with testing and vehicle content evaluation.
In October, Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) announced that it would consolidate its approximately 1,000 employees in Northern Virginia—currently based in multiple locations—into one, new headquarters building by 2023 to help increase efficiencies and productivity. In addition to Volkswagen, VWGoA houses the U.S. operations of several, distinguished automotive brands including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and VW Credit, Inc.
In July, the Volkswagen Group’s Test Center California (TCC) opened the Oxnard Engineering Campus, an expansion project that combines the TCC, Volkswagen Quality team along with the Design Center California, into one campus. Work at the Oxnard campus is focused on powertrain engineering services that back U.S. product development, governmental compliance and emissions testing with an enhanced focus on electric vehicle range testing and analysis.
The same month in Arizona, VW flipped the switch to on for one of the most extensive EV charging stations at a global test facility, Volkswagen Group’s Arizona Proving Grounds. The 50-vehicle charging station is designed to help VWGoA evaluate EV battery and charging performance under extreme hot-weather conditions. Chargers feature the various connectors used in the U.S., Europe and China and engineers will be able to evaluate real time data to see how various chargers compare.
Also in July, VWGoA expanded its port operations to Baltimore with the opening of the Tradepoint Atlantic vehicle terminal at the Port of Baltimore, Volkswagen’s eighth port in the U.S. The terminal will import and process approximately 120,000 vehicles per year including Volkswagens, serving roughly 302 dealers in the mid-Atlantic region. The new port marks an approximately $150 million investment in the Baltimore-area and the creation of approximately 100 new jobs.
VW continues to maintain a large workforce in Auburn Hills, MI where departments oversee multiple business functions including quality, dealer finance, real estate, safety and customer relations.