Small but important changes are necessary.
Currently, the all-electric Volkswagen ID.4 crossover is being imported from Germany but this will soon change. That's nothing new but what we can confirm is the US-built ID.4 will be slightly different than its overseas counterpart. Speaking to VW North America CEO Scott Keogh during a media roundtable, CarBuzz was told that "prototype ID.4 examples are now coming down the [assembly] line [and that] volume production will begin in September-October."
We further inquired whether there'll be any differences between the overseas-made ID.4 and the Chattanooga-produced model. "About 96 percent of it is identical," Keogh said. "The core mechanical bits are still there but we'll be switching from the LG-supplied battery to one from SKI that'll be manufactured in Georgia. The cell chemistry is slightly different but packaging is exactly the same." Obviously, that's all hidden in the vehicle's guts as consumers are highly unlikely to notice a difference.
But what they will be able to see is "a slightly different center console design that's more American style." Keogh further pointed out changes like this are very common market to market. For example, the Chinese-built ID.4 has a few alterations tailored to that country's consumer tastes. Electric vehicle affordability remains a key factor for VW. Presently, the ID.4 carries an MSRP of $39,995 for the base rear-wheel-drive model. This climbs to nearly $44k for the AWD version.
Keogh told us the ID.4's base price "will hold" and will soon become less expensive thanks to a new entry-level model that'll begin at around $35k. Factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit and pricing drops to below $28k.
The CEO is confident this tax credit will, at the very least, remain in place. At best, federal incentives will get even better but that's up to the politicians to figure out. Meanwhile, there's a certain other upcoming VW battery-electric that's gaining plenty of attention, the ID.Buzz. Keogh confirmed the just-announced March, 9 reveal date. However, production will remain in Germany with no plans to bring it stateside. Why?
Because VW doesn't expect it'll get the necessary volume it will with the ID.4. The business case simply isn't there even though the reborn microbus/van is the "second most-anticipated new vehicle launch in VW history" behind the New Beetle in 1997. The ID.Buzz we'll be seeing in March will also be the two-row version; America will get a three-row variant only. Reservations will hopefully begin later this year.