During trade talks in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess revealed that the German automaker has been considering adding a second plant in the U.S. to expand their auto production, and intend to utilize an existing Ford factory to do so.
Just last month, Volkswagen announced their plan to convert three German plants in Zwickau, Emden, and Hanover for the production of future electric vehicles as they move towards their electrification goals. Now, the German automaker has set their sights on the North American market.
In an attempt to expand their auto production in the U.S., Volkswagen has reportedly entered into talks with Ford Motor Co., as they wish to utilize an existing Ford factory for the production of their upcoming electric vehicles. According to Diess, the possibility of collaborating with Ford sprung forth after a meeting held in Washington D.C. with peers BMW and Daimler that were aimed at talking the Trump administration out of raising auto tariffs.
“We need additional capacity here in the United States. We might use Ford capacity here in the U.S. to build cars for us.”
If President Trump were to follow through with a potential 25 percent levy on imports from the EU, large European automakers would take a massive hit. BMW and Daimler, for example, are the biggest car exporters from the U.S. to China, while Volkswagen’s two most profitable brands, Porsche and Audi, would suffer immeasurable damage if Trump’s tariffs were to pass.
Diess commented on the potential tariffs, stating:
“That’s basically why we are here, to avoid the additional tariffs, and I think we’re in a good way.”
When Ford Chairman Bill Ford was questioned in regards to Diess’ expansion plan, he stated:
“He was sort of on the spot. I probably would have done the same thing if I was in his situation.”
At this time, Ford has neither confirmed nor denied any of Volkswagen’s claims, and it remains uncertain which electric vehicles the German automaker would produce at the Ford factory. If we were to guess, we’d assume that Volkswagen would work with Ford to push their upcoming ID series of electric vehicles.