VW loses 2 EV execs as ID4 production begins

Industry

As Volkswagen begins U.S. production of the ID4 compact crossover, two experienced, high-profile executives who helped guide the rollout of the brand’s electric vehicle transition on the continent have departed the automaker for high-tech startups.

Matt Renna, 36, previously VW Group of America’s vice president for e-mobility — and a 2020 Automotive News Rising Star — became head of hardware for autonomous delivery vehicle company Nuro in March, according to his profile on LinkedIn. Renna’s departure was followed by that of Dustin Krause, 37, who had been director of e-mobility with VW Group of America, who in May became senior director for automotive partnerships with battery recycling startup Redwood Materials, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Both Renna and Krause previously worked at Tesla and helped launch the Model 3 before joining VW of America in 2018 as the German brand prepared for the March 2021 U.S. launch of the ID4.

Renna told Automotive News that he “had a great experience” with VW and departed on good terms. Krause said he had left VW “for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the team at Redwood.”

The executive churn comes at a critical time for the brand and its lofty EV ambitions. Last week, VW’s newly expanded Chattanooga assembly complex marked the first U.S.-assembled ID4 leaving the body shop at the plant, on its way to paint and final assembly. The plant has been doing pilot builds of the vehicle for months, but not salable production, while VW dealers receive scant few ID4s from VW’s plant in Zwickau, Germany, to meet growing consumer demand in the U.S.

Speaking June 16 at the Automotive News Congress in Washington, VW of America CEO Scott Keogh said he expects ID4 availability and inventory to build dramatically late this year and into 2023 as production in Tennessee ramps up.

“We’re going to move from 1,500 cars a month [imported from Germany] to 7,000 cars a month [produced in Chattanooga], and eventually the plant is going to be able to build 10,000 cars per month,” he said. “So we’re gonna bring the dealers down in Chattanooga again, sometime around a September/October window, and get the reservation system cranked up. But I think we’ll start to see inventory — low inventory — probably around, let’s say, the first or second quarter of 2023.”

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