Volkswagen sticking with North American EV plans – executive

By Thomson Reuters Feb 8, 2024 | 11:36 AM

By Joseph White

DETROIT (Reuters) – Volkswagen is sticking with plans to launch 25 electric vehicle models in North America across its group brands by 2030, but is ready to adjust as the market shifts, Pablo Di Si, head of Volkswagen’s North American business, told Reuters on Thursday.

“When I look at the data from January, the (EV) segment continues to grow,” Di Si said in a video interview ahead of a speech on the sidelines of the Chicago Auto Show. Electric vehicles accounted for 8.5% of North American vehicle sales in January, up from just under 8% last year, he said.

However, Di Si said, the pace of growth is slowing. More investment in charging infrastructure and continued government support will be needed to expand EV sales in “middle America,” he said.

General Motors and Ford, among other automakers, have slowed investments in electric vehicles in response to decelerating growth in demand.

Volkswagen plans to add more EV models in the United States. The ID.Buzz electric minibus and the ID.7 sedan are scheduled to launch in the U.S. market later this year, but will not deliver high sales volumes, Di Si said.

SUVs are the highest volume segment in the U.S. market, and Volkswagen is developing midsize and larger electric SUVs to push sales toward a goal of capturing 10% of the U.S. market across all the group’s brands by 2030.

“We have them approved,” Di Si said.

The Volkswagen group’s North American EV lineup will also expand in 2026 to include U.S.-made SUVs sold under the revived Scout brand.

The Volkswagen brand’s North American EV strategy got off to a slow start in 2022 as the automaker launched sales of the ID.4 compact electric SUV. Sales of the ID.4 in the U.S. rose to 37,789 vehicles last year – behind Tesla’s Model Y and Model 3, GM’s Chevrolet Bolt and Ford’s Mustang Mach-E and just ahead of Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 EV.

This year, Di Si said the VW brand will aim to take advantage of revamped versions of the ID.4 that will come with longer driving range, improved infotainment software and eligibility for $7,500 in U.S. tax credits.

U.S.-built Tesla Model Y SUVs qualify for $7,500 tax credits. But competing models from Hyundai, Ford and GM do not, according to information on federal websites.

(Reporting by Joe White; editing by Jonathan Oatis)