By Alexandria Sage
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Volkswagen
Scott Keogh, the newly appointed CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America, said a new plant was needed to build a vehicle yet to be revealed under the Volkswagen brand, priced between $ 30,000- $ 40,000 (23,381-31,175 pounds), that is due in 2020.
"We are 100 percent deep in the process of 'We will need an electric car plant in North America,' and we're holding those conversations now," Keogh told reporters at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
An electric car that could take on Silicon Valley's Tesla Inc.
Volkswagen announced earlier this month that it would spend nearly 44 billion euros ($ 50 billion) on developing electric cars, autonomous driving and new mobility services by 2023, while exploring areas of cooperation with the US. automaker Ford Motor Co.
To meet the production timeline for 2020, the new electric car will initially be sourced outside of the United States, but Keogh said, but then will be produced at the newly selected site.
Volkswagen's existing U.S. plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the Passat and Atlas are built, could be one option as there is enough room at that facility, but it will not necessarily be chosen, Keogh said.
Tesla has so far captured the largest share of the U.S. market for electric vehicles, but a host of new models will hit the market from German automakers and others over the next two years.
For Volkswagen, although it is behind Tesla, it is not necessarily too late to capture and U.S. market that presents a "massive opportunity," Keogh said.
"The market timing is actually quite perfect," he said. "You have to have this intersection of," You can get the costs down enough that you can produce a car at that price point, make enough money, have the technological capabilities that this is a car that we would like to put on the market, and have market acceptance? '"he said.
"And when all these things intersect that's ideal when you want to throw the dart."
(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Leslie Adler)