said it is adding 1 000 new jobs and that electric vehicle production in Tennessee will begin in 2022. Photo: dpa

INTERNATIONAL –  Volkswagen’s chief executive Herbert Diess said an $800 million (R11 billion) investment to build a new electric car in Chattanooga, Tennessee should help ease tensions with United States President Donald Trump.

“We hope that with the investment in Chattanooga we could make a contribution, step forward, to avoid tariffs between Europe and the US, and we will work further on it,” Diess said at the sidelines of the Detroit Auto Show.

Diess also said the multi-brand carmaker was considering building a US factory for its premium brand Audi.

The German automaker said it is adding 1 000 new jobs and that electric vehicle production in Tennessee will begin in 2022.

“We have been strongly encouraged to invest more which we will do,” Diess said on Monday. 

The company also recently announced that its passenger car deliveries rose 0.9 percent last year to a record 10.83 million, putting it neck-and-neck with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi in the race to be the world’s biggest carmaker.

Rivals Toyota Motor and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi have not released 2018 registration figures, but the Franco-Japanese alliance sold 10.6 million cars in 2017 and racked up sales of 5.54 million cars in the first half of 2018.

Reuters