Volkswagen on Saturday said it will seek to double the time with which it can be supplied batteries for planned electric vehicle production in Chattanooga amid a dispute between two providers.
Volkswagen Group of America said in a statement that it has become "an unintended victim" in the trade dispute between SK Innovation and that company's rival, LG Chem.
"Volkswagen will take all necessary steps to allow us to fulfill our commitment to provide skilled jobs to proud Tennessee workers who will be responsible for building environmentally friendly, battery electric vehicles and moving this country forward," the statement said.
Those steps will include requesting that a federal trade agency permit South Korean battery maker SK Innovation to supply VW for at least four years instead of two to give the automaker an adequate transition period, according to Volkswagen Group of America.
"Volkswagen's commitment to the electrification of its fleet and support of the Paris Climate Agreement requires a steady supply of U.S. sourced batteries," said the company. "We have invested $800 million to build the ID.4 in Chattanooga and are hiring hundreds of employees to build this state-of-the-art vehicle."
"Ultimately, however, it is our hope the two suppliers will settle this dispute outside of the courtroom so that U.S. workers and consumers will not bear the long-term negative impacts of this ruling," the VW statement said.
Last Wednesday, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled for South Korean electric vehicle battery maker LG Chem against SK Innovation in the dispute.
LG Chem, along with its LG Energy Solution entity, claimed that SK Innovation attempted to destroy a wide range of evidence indicating that it stole confidential battery-making trade secrets.
A Volkswagen of America spokesman said earlier that the ruling by the trade panel won't impact a planned 2022 production launch of the electric ID.4 SUV in Chattanooga.
On Friday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp called for President Joe Biden to overturn the ruling by a trade panel against battery supplier SK Innovation.
Without the action, Kemp said the long-term prospects of SK Innovation's $2.6 billion electric vehicle battery production plant in Northeast Georgia would be "harmed significantly" and he called for "swift presidential action."
The governor said there's a 60-day window for presidential review during which time the Biden administration may overturn the findings that would affect SK Innovation, along with its customers, Ford and Volkswagen.
Song Jung, legal counsel for LG Chem entity LG Energy Solutions, said in response to the governor's statement that SK's new plant would have relied on stolen trade secrets.
"Unfortunately, the state of Georgia and others are victims of SKI's theft," he said.
Jung said that SK Innovation can provide a remedy by adequately compensating LG Energy Solutions for "their unlawful conduct" and that the company "wants to work with Gov. Kemp to help the plant and the workers, while upholding the rule of law."