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VW US CEO: Customer reaction to ID.4 EV 'has been incredible,' with 20K on backorder

German auto giant Volkswagen (VOW.DE) delivered a whopping 8.26 million cars worldwide in 2022, a drop of 7% year over year as supply chain snarls hit growth. Despite the decline, Volkswagen was second to Toyota globally in sales.

However, Wolfsburg, Germany-based VW is beating Toyota where it counts these days in the auto market — with EV sales. Volkswagen and its portfolio brands (Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini) reported EV deliveries of 572,100 globally, a 26% boost.

Stateside in the U.S., Volkswagen of America reported more of the same. VW’s ID.4 electric SUV sold 20,511 units in 2022, up 22.5% year over year. And 2023 sales are trending in the right direction.

“The reaction from customers has been incredible — amazing — we have over 20,000 orders in backorder for 2023,” Volkswagen Group of America President & CEO Pablo Di Si said in an interview with Yahoo Finance. “Just to give you a point of reference, in Q4 of last year, the EV industry grew by 55%, and we grew by 122%. So we more than doubled the performance of the industry in Q4.”

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JANUARY 13: Volkswagen ID.4 full electric SUV car on display at Brussels Expo on January 13, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium.
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JANUARY 13: Volkswagen ID.4 full electric SUV car on display at Brussels Expo on January 13, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium. (Sjoerd van der Wal via Getty Images)

Di Si says the ID.4 has been one of VW’s main sellers within company’s overall product portfolio in Q4, coming in 4th place among the 9 vehicles VW sells in the U.S.

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With the ID.4 currently on sale, VW will pair that with the upcoming ID.7 sedan, which was revealed at CES this year. The ID.7 will appear in showrooms in late 2023 or early 2024, when it will be joined by the very-well received (and quirky) ID.Buzz microbus.

This is all part of VW’s master plan to release 25 new EV models by 2030 in the U.S., and have 55% of the company’s U.S. sales be EVs.

“We believe that the US will be transformed in the next five or six years, and by 2030 we believe that the EV industry will be over 50% of the penetration,” Di Si said. “And we would like to be over 55% of EV penetration within our own portfolio.”

To that end, Volkswagen is committing $7.1 billion in North America to boost EV production. VW’s massive plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, currently builds the ID.4 and other vehicles for the U.S. market. This means the ID.4 currently qualifies for the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) federal tax credits.

Volkswagen said the company has already invested $800 million into the Chattanooga plant and hired 4,000 people to meet customer demand.

One of the factors hurting some of VW’s sales here, and across the globe, is the chip and component crisis. In fact there are recent reports that current ID.4s destined for Canada are shipping without heat pumps due to a parts shortage.

Di Si noted the component shorates impacted the business, but things are looking better for 2023.

“I think over the last two years things have improved. Are they perfect? No, they're not. We still have some of the issues, but I think the issues have been reduced, versus 2022 and particular versus 2021,” he said.

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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