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Volkswagen will develop its final generation of vehicles using combustion engine technology in 2026, the company's strategy chief says.

Reuters reported that VW has made a strategy shift toward battery-driven vehicles in the wake of a damaging diesel-emissions cheating scandal in 2015, which forced the carmaker to pay billions of dollars in fines for hiding excessive pollution.

"In the year 2026 will be the last product start on a combustion engine platform," Michael Jost told the Handelsblatt automotive summit conference at Volkswagen's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.

A spokesman confirmed to Reuters that Jost's remarks meant that VW, which is Europe's and China's best selling passenger car brand, will focus on electric cars instead.

VW will continue to adapt its petrol and diesel engined cars to meet environmental standards during the lifetime of those vehicles, but the German carmaker is now committed to radical steps to stop global warming, Jost said.

Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess said Tuesday after a White House meeting that the company is in advanced talks with Tennessee about a second plant, but added there are other options.

Last month, the top Volkswagen Group of America official said at the Los Angeles Auto Show that the company was scouting sites for electric vehicle production. That official, Scott Keogh, said VW's Chattanooga location was an option because there's enough room for extra assembly there. The plant makes the Passat sedan and Atlas SUV.

Diess also told reporters that the company is talking with Ford Motor Co. about potentially making vehicles at the American carmaker's plants.

Volkswagen and Ford have been in discussions about a global alliance. The option of utilizing Ford production comes as the carmaker is reducing its American car manufacturing capacity.

President Donald Trump has pressed foreign automakers to make more vehicles in the U.S. and threatened higher tariffs on imports.

Trump met with executives from Germany's big automakers this week amid the U.S.- European trade tensions.

Trump "shared his vision of all automakers producing in the United States and creating a more friendly business environment," the White House said in a statement afterward. The statement did not mention whether Trump raised tariffs with the automakers.

Executives from BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen were invited to individual meetings with Trump's top economic advisers to discuss investment opportunities in the United States, including in manufacturing and research and development, the White House said.

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