VW ID.4 completes 6,700-mile cross-country drive in 18 days

Volkswagen of America announced Wednesday that its new battery-powered ID.4 EV was driven across the U.S. in 18 days, being recharged at 32 Electrify America charging stations across the country.

Starting in New York City in mid-March, the small team crossed the States on a predominantly southern route, wrapping up the 6,700-mile drive on schedule in 18 days in Sacremento, California.

"We proved exactly what we set out to do with this drive, which was to show that with a little planning, covering long distances in an EV can be easy," said Dustin Krause, director of e-Mobility for Volkswagen of America. "The ID.4 performed flawlessly and we're hoping this trip reiterates that electric vehicles and EV charging networks are ready for the masses."

VW's ID.4 SUV went on sale in America last month and a Chattanooga-made version is slated to hit dealerships next year.


BRS picks Tennessee for 115-job headquarters

BRS Offroad North America will invest $1.7 million to establish headquarters and manufacturing operations in Hohenwald, Tennessee, creating 115 new jobs.

The offroad and luxury camper manufacturer recently purchased a building on Summertown Highway, where the company will build its Sherpa, Pursuit and Pullman models.

"We believe the products we build and teams we grow are among the best anywhere and growing our team locally will create new opportunities that benefit our community, our team, and our customers," BRS Offroad CEO Chris Brown. "As you can tell from the campers we build, this is a passion for us and our team and we are only getting better."


Trade gap grows to a record high

The U.S. trade deficit grew to a record $71.1 billion in February as a decline in exports more than offset a slight dip in imports, with severe weather taking much of the blame from analysts, who were expecting a slightly lower gap.

The February gap between what America buys from abroad compared to what it sells abroad jumped 4.8% above the revised January deficit of $67.8 billion, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

The coronavirus pandemic has stifled global trade for more than a year, but those barriers appear to be falling as millions of people get vaccinated and countries start easing operating restrictions for businesses. Total trade after two months of 2021 is just 1.8% behind where it was at this point last year, before the global economy was blindsided by the pandemic.

"The trade deficit is poised to widen as the U.S. recovery surges in the spring and summer," said Oren Klachkin of Oxford Economics in a note to clients. "Better health conditions, reopenings, and fiscal stimulus will boost domestic demand and keep a strong pull on imports."

The higher trade deficit in February reflected a 2.6% decline in exports of goods and services to $187.3 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis. That wiped out a 0.7% decline in imports, which ticked down from January's record high of $260.1 billion.


VW Atlas picked as best family car

PARENTS magazine has named the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas the best three-row SUV in the magazine's new list of Best Family Cars.

The testing team at PARENTS magazine commended the Atlas for its comfortable driving experience and safety features, its car-seat compatibility because of its bench-style second-row seating and that Atlas has available three-zone climate control, allowing passengers to adjust heating and cooling to their own needs.

"The Atlas was designed and built from the ground up with American families in mind," said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. "Being named to PARENTS magazine's Best Cars list for the fourth year running is truly an honor. It shows that Atlas provides families with the features, capability and value they need most."

— Compiled by Dave Flessner