Press Releases

Autos Drive America, International Automakers Discuss U.S. Auto Industry’s Shift Toward Electrification

June 27, 2022

Jennifer Safavian, Toyota, and Volkswagen participate in SelectUSA panel discussion.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Autos Drive America President and CEO Jennifer Safavian moderated a panel discussion today on the benefits of investing in America as the automotive industry moves towards electrification. The panel took place at the SelectUSAInvestment Summit at National Harbor, Maryland.

“International automakers have invested over $98 billion into U.S. operations with an increasing focus on the emerging EV market in recent years,” said Jennifer Safavian, President and CEO of Autos Drive America. “The industry’s shift towards electrification shows our growing commitment to meeting consumer demands with the most sustainable, quality vehicles. Discussions like these, between auto industry stakeholders and government regulators, are crucial as the U.S. auto industry strives to maintain its competitive edge in the field of electrification.”

The panel featured:

  • Leila Aridi Afas, Director of Global Public Policy at Toyota North America
  • Anna Schneider, Senior Vice President, Industry-Government Relations at Volkswagen Group of America
  • Elizabeth Clark, Team Leader, Automotive at the U.S. Department of Commerce

The U.S. has one of the largest automotive markets in the world. International automakers specifically have invested billions of dollars in EV production with green vehicle manufacturing and R&D facilities in eight states as of 2020. International automakers accounted for 62% of the market share of green vehicle sales in the U.S. in 2020.

“We will continue working closely with our partners in the industry and the federal government to put the U.S. auto industry at the forefront of the electrification movement,” said Anna Schneider, Senior Vice President, Industry-Government Relations at Volkswagen Group of America. “As more Americans adopt EVs, we need to make sure we have the proper investments in place to keep up with demand. This includes manufacturing and R&D facilities dedicated to EV production and support in securing critical supply chain assets and infrastructure.”

The panel discussed a range of issues around the shift to electrification in the automotive industry. The participants discussed the leading factors motivating companies to establish battery and EV production facilities in the U.S. and how the ongoing supply chain issues have impacted the shift to electrification. The panel also touched on the access to critical minerals needed to produce EV batteries and what the administration is doing to assist the industry in acquiring them.

“These open discussions are needed now more than ever as the industry continues its shift towards electrification amid global supply chain disruptions and an evolving geopolitical landscape,” said Leila Aridi Afas, Director of Global Public Policy at Toyota North America. “We are embracing this shift head-on and look forward to achieving results with our industry partners and policy-makers to ensure continued success for the U.S. auto industry and our American workers.”

According to the Department of Energy, sales of new EVs in the United States grew by 85% since 2020. International automakers expect this shift to continue and remain committed to investing in EV production and ensuring their customers have access to some of the most advanced green vehicles on the U.S. market.






About Autos Drive America 

Autos Drive America represents the U.S. operations of international motor vehicle manufacturers integral to America’s workforce, communities, and economy. As the voice of international automakers in the United States, Autos Drive America works closely with policymakers at all levels of government to advance policies that promote jobs, trade, and growth in the U.S. automotive industry. Learn more at

About Volkswagen Group of America
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. VWGoA houses the U.S. operations of a worldwide family of distinguished and exciting brands including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Volkswagen. Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of VWGoA, operates a state-of-the-art assembly facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, while VW Credit, Inc., another wholly owned subsidiary of VWGoA, provides financial services. VWGoA’s headquarters are in Herndon, Va. The company has approximately 8,000 employees in the United States, and sells its vehicles through a network of approximately 1,000 independent dealers. Learn more at

About Toyota North America

Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in North America for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands, plus our more than 1,800 dealerships. Toyota directly employs more than 48,000 people in North America who have contributed to the design, engineering, and assembly of nearly 43 million cars and trucks at our 13 manufacturing plants.  By 2025, Toyota’s 14th plant in North Carolina will begin to manufacture automotive batteries for electrified vehicles.  With more electrified vehicles on the road than any other automaker, more than a quarter of the company’s 2021 North American sales were electrified. Through the Start Your Impossible campaign, Toyota highlights the way it partners with community, civic, academic and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We believe that when people are free to move, anything is possible. For more information about Toyota, visit