VW plans to boost electric-car production in Germany
Volkswagen may expand its electric-car production at higher-cost factories in Germany, according to people familiar with the matter, to ensure plants have enough workload and avoid clashes with powerful labor unions.
VW plans to boost battery-vehicle production at Zwickau in Eastern Germany beyond 100,000 vehicles annually and might add e-cars in Emden, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks aren’t public.
VW has repeatedly idled Emden for some days because of waning demand for the mid-size Passat sedan. The plan potentially raises the bar on efforts to offer more affordable battery vehicles than Tesla without eroding profits.
At a later stage, the German manufacturer may start making electric vans in Hanover, the people said. A VW spokesman declined to comment.
The deliberations are part of the world’s biggest carmaker’s annual investment planning set to be mapped out during a supervisory board meeting at the end of next week. The decisions will mark the first on future budgets since Herbert Diess became chief executive officer in April.
The Zwickau site could be expanded to make 300,000 electric vehicles, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported Tuesday, beyond a plan for 100,000 electric cars in 2020. The Passat, ranking fifth of VW’s best-selling vehicles last year, will cease production in Germany altogether by 2022, Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung said.
In China, VW has selected two factories to start electric-car production in 2020. Battery-powered cars could also be produced at its only U.S. plant in Chattanooga. Plans in Europe face added urgency as lawmakers prepare stricter emission limits.