BERLIN — Armed with a product plan stacked with full-electric and hybrid vehicles, Volkswagen Group will rely on battery suppliers with greater expertise, CEO Matthias Mueller said.
Mueller, speaking at the the automaker's annual press conference here on Tuesday, also said VW's U.S. plant in Chattanooga could begin making electrified vehicles in 2022, but the company is taking a "wait and see" approach with ongoing trade negotiations before making any concrete decisions.
While the 11-brand conglomerate has global plans for 80 new electrified vehicles by 2025, including 50 full electrics, it will stay out of the battery manufacturing business.
"Building up expertise and mastering the technology does not necessarily imply that we want to start large-scale manufacturing of batteries ourselves," Mueller said. "This is not one of our core competencies, and others can do it better than we can."
Mueller said that the outsourcing of battery production includes the company's plans in North America, where a battery supplier decision is "imminent." The Volkswagen brand plans to sell four full-electric vehicles in the U.S., beginning in 2020 with the I.D. Crozz crossover, followed in 2022 with the I.D. Buzz, a throwback design to the Volkswagen Microbus.
Beyond the potential to build EVs in Chattanooga in 2022, VW could begin assembling other electric vehicles in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, as well as in China.