VW to Build New Midsize SUV in Chattanooga

By | January 10, 2014
The Detroit auto show is right around the corner, and at last year's show, Volkswagen debuted the CrossBlue Concept, a midsize SUV with lines inspired by the Passat. This year, the company plans to start production on an SUV at the Chattanooga, Tenn. plant, and we expect it to come in the form of the CrossBlue. The announcement is likely to be made at this year's Detroit auto show next week. Volkswagen needs new models in the North American market, after hitting a minor setback following the 2012 sales surge. "Having a competitive crossover (SUV) would be a huge step forward for Volkswagen in the U.S.," said Juergen Pieper of Bankhaus Metzler in Frankfurt. The current SUVs in the German automaker's lineup, the Tiguan and Touareg, haven't been able to keep up with the refreshed and redesigned competition, signaling the automaker's need for a new model. Right now, the Chattanooga plant is the likely place to build the new model, but Volkswagen's plant in Puebla, Mexico is a close second. We expect the new SUV to slot between the two existing SUV models in terms of price, and Volkswagen hopes the new model will help achieve its goal of selling 800,000 units in the U.S. by 2018. The new midsize SUV will compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Nissan Pathfinder.
The German automaker has struggled in the past with providing the U.S. market a vehicle that the majority of Americans will want to buy, and have come to realize that "Americans will buy a pretty car faster than they will buy a well-engineered car," according to Jim Ziegler, an independent consultant to auto retailers, speaking with Automotive News. Volkswagen has its work cut out to build a new model for this market. Source: Automotive News, Automobile Magazine