Why bother importing to its potentially biggest EV market?
If you drive a US-market Volkswagen Passat, you'll be happy to know it was made in America. Chattanooga, Tennessee, to be precise. Turns out this still relatively new production plant has been such a success for the German automaker that it appears it'll be called upon to build future electric vehicles. Automotive News has an interesting article revealing that VW has begun advertising on social media sites, such as LinkedIn, for job candidates with specific areas of expertise.
They'll be needed to work on VW's MED global electric platform, the very platform set to underpin four new EVs slated for the US beginning in 2020. In fact, we already know the names, at least in concept form, of three of the four EVs: I.D. Crozz crossover, I.D. hatchback, and I.D. Buzz microbus. The fourth EV will be a sedan, and all will be on sale by 2025. The Wall Street Journal also learned from VW global brand chief Herbert Diess that "Chattanooga is our first choice" to build these EVs for North America. However, a final decision hasn't been made. Aside from the Passat, this facility also builds the Atlas crossover. That's just two models, and Passat sales have been dropping while the Atlas demand has increased.
In other words, Chattanooga is not being utilized to its fullest extent. That also means VW is not getting the maximum return on its investment in its American production operations. Deciding to build those new EVs in Tennessee, therefore, sounds like a no-brainer.