Volkswagen’s Scott Keogh: Rising interest rates, recession just another ‘bump’ for industry to overcome

“We need more, and we need more immediately,” Keogh said of ID4 production. He said that right now, VW is importing “anywhere from 800 to 2,000” ID4s per month from Germany. “Once we get that plant going, we’ll be sending out 7,000 to 8,000 per month.” As a result, he said, the German brand should actually see ID4 inventories climb at dealerships early next year, allowing EV-curious consumers an opportunity to buy off dealer lots, as they have historically done with traditionally powered automobiles.

Keogh also noted that VW was “emotionally” supportive of a letter from the CEOs of General Motors, Toyota Motor North America, Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis seeking a lifting of the 200,000-vehicle-per-manufacturer cap on $7,500 federal EV tax credits for consumers. “We weren’t part of that, but we supported that.”

Keogh said the auto industry would like to solve its problems with making affordable, profitable EVs itself, “but I view it like a runway, and we have a giant, giant airplane that needs to get off the ground, and certainly those incentives go a long way to make that happen.”

In response to another question, Keogh said government has a role to play in the transformation to electrification, but it also must play a role in transforming the U.S. economy from a service economy back into one that manufactures products and mines its own minerals. He said factory work can be “brutal, difficult, challenging work” when compared with a job at a coffee stand and that automakers need to make those jobs attractive to lure workers to the industry. But, he cautioned, U.S. workers cannot make everything that the nation needs.

“We need to have a nuanced environment here. World trade and global trade are still a worthwhile thing,” Keogh said.

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