Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

As it considers where to build its new US electric car factory and discusses building some cars at Ford factories, Volkswagen says it is designing the last conventional cars it will ever build.


Volkswagen Phasing Out Conventional Vehicles, May Build Cars At Ford Factories In US

As it considers where to build its new US electric car factory and discusses building some cars at Ford factories, Volkswagen says it is designing the last conventional cars it will ever build.

If you had any doubt that the world of manufacturing automobiles is changing, the latest news from Volkswagen should remove any remaining doubts. This week, the company said it is working on the last generation of conventional cars with internal combustion engines. It also hinted it may manufacture some cars jointly with Ford in that company’s US factories.

The End Of The Line For Gasmobiles

Volkswagen Golf

At an industry conference in Germany this week, Michael Jost, strategy chief for Volkswagen, told the press, “Our colleagues are working on the last platform for vehicles that aren’t CO2 neutral. We’re gradually fading out combustion engines to the absolute minimum.”

Don’t go thinking the folks in Wolfsburg have decided to make all their cars battery electrics. “CO2 neutral” is probably code for a mix of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and fully electric cars. There may even be room in there for fuel cell cars. What Jost is saying is that all future Volkswagens will feature an electric motor as part of the drivetrain. They really have no choice if they hope to meet emissions standards that are getting more stringent in every  country around the world (except the US, of course.)

It usually takes 3 to 5 years to design a new generation of cars and the normal time span between generations is 5 to 7 years. That suggests it could be up to 12 years from now before VW transitions to building all carbon neutral cars. Also keep in mind that automobiles today typically have a useful life of 20 years, so it could be more than three decades before the world sees the last of Volkswagens powered by conventional gasoline or diesel engines.

A Partnership With Ford?

Volkswagen electric car ID Crozz

Last week at the Los Angeles auto show, Scott Keogh, Volkswagen’s head of operations in North America, told the press, “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. We are in quite advanced negotiations in Tennessee, but there might be other options as well.” Volkswagen already has a manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Diess said his company has a new electric car coming for the US market that will sell for between $30,000 and $40,000. That car — probably the ID Crozz — will go into production in 2020 but it is unlikely the company will have a US factory built by then.

Executives from Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes had a meeting at the White House recently during which they were “encouraged” to build more of their vehicles in the US or face increased tariffs on the cars they import. Following the meeting, VW CEO Herbert Diess told reporters, “The president has a point in trying to convince us to invest more into America, and we are prepared to invest more. We might use Ford capacity here in the U.S. to build cars for us.”

For its part, Ford soft pedaled the news, saying its memorandum of understanding “covers conversations about potential collaborations across a number of areas” but “it is premature to share additional details at this time.” Like General Motors, Ford is backing out of passenger car manufacturing in America and has excess capacity available in its US factories.

USA Today reports Morgan Stanley has predicted Ford will cut up to 25,000 jobs in coming months. Making cars for Volkswagen could help it trim some of those job loses.

Just the fact that Volkswagen and Ford are holding talks illustrates the changing face of vehicle manufacturing. Many industry observers believe there will be no more than half a dozen global automakers within 10 years. Will Ford be one of the existing companies that gets absorbed?

While Volkswagen has committed more than $50 billion to the electric vehicle transition, Ford is investing far less than that in building electric cars. There’s a possibility the Blue Oval could disappear before the last Volkswagen Golf comes off the assembly line in a few years.

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


You May Also Like


Tesla hits the UK with its strongest ever May, helping lift the plugin electric vehicle market share to 23.1%, up from 18.3% year on...


GM has joined Ford in agreeing to install NACS charging equipment in its electric cars so drivers can use the Tesla Supercharger network.


Ford is on track to sell between 40,000 and 50,000 electric vehicles in the US this year. That’s not good. Yet, first-quarter sales imply...

Clean Transport

Although electric vehicles have taken huge steps toward mainstream adoption over the past few years, at least one major barrier remains. As Tesla and...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.