The bulk of that 680m investment will go towards setting up a new production line at the plant, enabling it to become a 'multi-brand' location – producing vehicles for Group brands other than Volkswagen. But perhaps most intriguing are these three new SUVs being touted by VW.
Volkswagen isn't giving much away, simply stating: “These D-SUVs are genuine flagship projects: premium, 100 per cent electric and highly automated”. Whilst we obviously also know that they will be produced for other Group brands, we don't know which brands in particular.
What we can surmise is that being D-segment cars, they will be similar in size to SUVs like the Renault Koleos, Peugeot 5008 and Nissan X-Trail. We would also take a guess that, as they are being branded 'flagship', we're looking at cars for Volkswagen, Škoda and SEAT – our rationale being that VW Group's premium brands, such as Audi and Porsche, already have their own flagship electrified SUVs.
But that is just our best guess.
Alongside these new SUVs, Volkswagen will also produce the fully electric ID.BUZZ 'Multivan' at the site and the retro Bulli van, with production of these starting as early as 2022. Bertina Murkovic, VWCV Works Council Chair, stated that competition within the Group's factories to get what is effectively an internal 'contract' to produce these EVs was fierce.
For Hanover, however, this does mean job security for its workforce, with Murkovic saying: “The new Multivan, the ID. BUZZ and now the D-SUVs is our portfolio for this decade. No greater security than this could be established at the current time for the location or the workforce.”
Investing in a plant to ensure it's ready to produce new lines of EVs isn't necessarily huge news in of itself, however, VW dropping a forthcoming, multi-brand flagship SUV into an unassuming press release has certainly been enough to pique interest. There's no word on when we might hear more about these new models, but if 2022 is the goal for commencement of production, we suspect early 2021 will be busy!