BERLIN (Reuters) -Volkswagen is considering an expansion of its Chattanooga plant in the United States to produce an electric pick-up and the new ID.Buzz microbus, a source close to the matter told Reuters on Thursday.
The move would help the German automaker grow its market share in North America, which it identified in March as the region with the greatest growth potential but which was unprofitable for several years before 2021.
Volkswagen said in March it was shifting production to China and the United States as a result of the war in Ukraine.
The carmaker plans to invest at least $7.1 billion over the next five years in North America and add 25 new electric vehicles there by 2030, with the aim of 50% of sales to be electric by then.
The Chattanooga plant, its only U.S. plant so far, which produces models including the Passat and Atlas, begun pilot production of the ID.4 electric crossover in March in preparation for a fall launch.
A top executive said in March that the ID.Buzz would initially be imported from Volkswagen’s Hanover plant but that it could be ultimately assembled in the United States or Mexico.
Earlier on Thursday, Manager Magazin reported that the German carmaker was planning to build a second production plant in the United States, increasing its production capacity there to up to 600,000 vehicles per year.
Citing stakeholders, the magazine said the new plant could be built next to the current Chattanooga factory and that the carmaker is also considering construction of a battery cell plant.
Volkswagen declined to comment.
(Reporting by Jan Schwartz; Writing by Riham Alkousaa, Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Maria Sheahan)