Volkswagen’s sales in the U.S. are lackluster these days, except when it comes to the Golf family which is winning awards and acclaim from every direction. But Volkswagen needs to do more if it’s going to jump start U.S. sales, which dipped about 10 percent last year, and the automaker hopes building a parade of new SUVs will do the job.
Volkswagen’s technical chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser recently told Autocar VW plans to build no less than five new SUV’s by 2020. Three of them mainstream models, along with two coupes. VW is already hard at work on its plans and most recently showed off its Cross Coupe GTE plug-in hybrid concept at the Detroit Auto show. A production version of the five-seater concept is on the way.
“The Cross Coupe GTE is the ambassador of a new design language developed by Volkswagen for the U.S. The concept car has a commanding presence; it is powerful with a look that could almost be described as aggressive,” says Klaus Bischoff, chief designer at Volkswagen.
Volkswagen’s first new offering in the SUV lineup will be a large as-of-yet unnamed seven-seater model, which heads into production late this year. It will essentially be a toned-down version of the CrossBlue Concept that debuted back in 2013. It will be larger than the Touareg and not cost as much. It’s likely to get smaller four- and six-cylinder engines.
Next, VW will build a five-seater version of the CrossBlue, which is inspired by the CrossBlue Coupe that debuted in Shanghai two years ago. It’s sportier and will get Volkswagen’s MQB platform, and share the bulk of its engines with its seven-seater counterpart. It’s due out in 2016 and would compete against the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe.
Then we have the next-gen Tiguan coming in 2017. Built on the long-wheelbase Golf platform, the next-generation model will reportedly offer a lot more cargo space and get an optional third row of seats best suited to carrying small children. VW will also build a updated, sportier-version of the SUV.
To round things out, VW plans a five-door entry-level crossover aimed right at the Nissan Juke. Neusser refers to it as the “Polo SUV”. This is one that might not make it to the U.S., we’ll have to wait and see.
The two big crossovers will be built alongside the Passat in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Tiguan will be assembled in Puebla, Mexico and imported into the U.S.