Volkswagen Group is exploring investment opportunities in Canada as the automaker realigns its North American footprint to build electric vehicles, according to Scott Keogh, VW CEO for the region.
“Whether it's on the battery side of the equation, whether it's on the mining side of the equation and the materials that go along with that, I think Canada as a country is doing an amazing job … positioning itself and positioning its ecosystem,” he said during an April 26 media roundtable.
Keogh had no firm announcements, but said nothing is “off the table” as the automaker looks to build a battery supply chain and further localize production in North America.
“One of the reasons I'm here and will continue to be here is to look at opportunities in Canada,” he said in Toronto.
VW plans to have 25 EVs available in North America by 2030, and on March 21, released a plan to spend US$7.1 billion on local manufacturing and research and development through 2027 to help it get there. The majority of the spending locked in at this stage will be in the United States and Mexico, but Keogh said a large portion of the funding is still unspoken for.
“I think there's massive opportunities for industrialization in the entire region,” he said, pointing to battery production capacity to support sales of as many as 10 million EVs across all brands annually by 2030.
VW will get batteries for its first locally built EVs from SK Innovation’s plant in Georgia, but has committed to expanding its battery cell production capacity in North America.
A Canadian production footprint would be a major shift for the automaker, which operates assembly plants for VW-badged vehicles in Puebla, Mexico and Chattanooga, Tenn. Across its wider passenger vehicle and heavy truck brands, the global Volkswagen Group operates nine North American production plants, none of which are in Canada.
Throughout the electrification process, localization will remain a priority, Keogh said. Currently about 85 per cent of the components and materials that go into VW’s North American-made vehicles come from within the region.
Keogh said much of the company’s new spending will remain anchored to its existing production hubs in Mexico and the United States, but he left the door open for Canada. VW sees it as “smart business to balance your region” and the automaker will be investing in “what markets can do things better” accordingly, he said.