'What Sells Cars Is Driver Image,' Says VW of American CEO

Scott Keogh, CEO of VW of America, sat down to talk electric cars and the future of the auto industry with TheStreet.
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On Monday, Jan. 14, Volkswagen (VLKAY) announced that it selected its manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., as ground zero for the company's first electric vehicle facility in North America.  TheStreet contributor M. Corey Goldman covered the news

The German automaker confirmed in a news release coinciding with the kickoff of the Detroit Auto Show Monday that it will expand its plant in Chattanooga and create 1,000 jobs there as the factory gears up for electric vehicle production beginning in 2022.

Volkswagen currently employs 3,500 people in Tennessee, and at year-end will have invested $2.3 billion in the facility. The Chattanooga plant produces the midsize Atlas SUV and Passat sedan and will begin building the Atlas Cross Sport, a five-seat version of the model, this year.

Scott Keogh, CEO of VW of America, will head up Volkswagen's electric vehicle team. Keogh sat down with TheStreet about the future of electric cars and how VW is becoming a U.S. company thanks to the Tennessee news. 

"What a consumer wants is they want to buy the future and they buy something that's extremely cool. And I think Volkswagen's going to put a car on the marketplace that's going to be the future, that's going to be extremely cool. But the big trick here is getting the price right. I can drive the future at the right price for me. And if you look at what sells cars, it's pretty straightforward what sells cars," he said. "What sells cars is driver image. Someone pulls up and see someone else in a vehicle and they say wait, they have something I don't have. They have the future. And you get that tipping point and when the tipping point comes... Boom. And that's exactly what we're looking at with electric vehicles. That tip is happening between customer demand, price points, and putting a real car on the marketplace. Not a quirky car. A real car. And that's what we have."