Now that the U.S. government is offering buyers greater tax rebates for EVs that are built in America, Audi is taking a hard look at whether or not it should open a production plant in the States.
Audi’s only North American plant is currently located in San Jose Chiapa, Mexico, where the Q5 crossover is built. With a move to electric propulsion in the works, though, it may benefit Audi to start a production line north of the border.
Speaking to Automotive News, Oliver Hoffman, Audi’s head of technical development, said that America’s new rules “will have a huge impact on our strategy here.”
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“To be honest, we are looking right and left: What can be the opportunity for us to get together with a strong [Volkswagen Group] in the background,” he said. “And now we are on the way, especially as the rules changed and as you know there is big spending of the government for EVs, with special circumstances, and we are looking forward to how we can meet these requirements.”
Hoffman pointed to Audi’s stablemates in the Volkswagen Group empire, with which it plans to share electric platforms, as providing big opportunities for it. The automaker is currently working on a premium platform for electric vehicles that it will share with Porsche and Bentley, while VW’s MEB platform is being used for its compact electric crossover, the Q4 e-tron.
Unlike Audi, Volkswagen currently operates a plant in the U.S. Located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It started manufacturing internal combustion vehicles like the Atlas, but is now producing the all-electric ID.4, which is also based on the MEB platform. It is also the only VW Group vehicle that may currently qualify for incentives laid out in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Separately, the Volkswagen Group recently signed an agreement with the Canadian government to source minerals mined in the country for future battery production. This may signal a further commitment to North American production of electric vehicles.
While the future of Audi production, specifically, remains unknown, Hoffman suggested that a final decision on expanding EV production to the U.S. could come in early 2023.