Europe’s largest automaker, Volkswagen, is delaying plans for a fourth EV battery factory for now. CEO Oliver Blume said the decision was based on market conditions in Europe.
Volkswagen pushes back fourth EV battery plant plans
The Volkswagen Group announced plans to open six gigafactories by the end of the decade. VW has already chosen three sites, including one in Salzgitter, Germany, another in Valencia, Spain, and the most recent in St. Thomas, Ontario.
Volkswagen initially planned for the third to be in Europe but chose North America to take advantage of IRA incentives.
The company has been searching for its fourth in Eastern Europe for over a year, considering sites in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.
Although the Czech Republic has been pulling for VW to establish a plant, officials said they could not wait any longer and would offer the site to others. The news comes after Blume met with Czech officials this week, according to Automotive News.
Blume explained that “there is for the time being no business rationale for deciding on further sites.” VW CEO said the decision was “based on market conditions, including the sluggish ramp up of the BEV market in Europe.”
(Source: Volkswagen PowerCo)
Volkswagen is already in the middle of building three facilities. Blume said the three plants have up to 200 GWh production capacity annually.
The news comes after the company’s CFO, Arno Antlitz, said EV orders were down 50% in Europe from 300,000 last year to 150,000.
Europe is Volkswagen’s biggest EV market, accounting for over 60% of global sales. Its second largest, China, is also at risk. Antlitz explained the automaker could lose market share in the region until new models with XPeng begin rolling out.