Volkswagen Could Build Full-Size SUV in Tennessee

Cross-blue-concept
Volkswagen could build a new full-size SUV in its 2-year-old Chattanooga, Tenn., plant. The Detroit News reports the automaker is mulling an expansion in Chattanooga, which produced around 180,000 Passat sedans in 2012, to assemble an SUV designed specifically for the U.S. market. That new three-row vehicle would compete with the likes of the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse and Honda Pilot. The automaker's current Tiguan battles their smaller siblings — the Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox and Honda CR-V — while Volkswagen prices the five-seat Touareg against luxury SUVs like the Lexus RX.

The new SUV is a long time coming. Volkswagen Group of America CEO Jonathan Browning told us in 2011 that a full-size crossover would be "a very natural extension to the brand." And at January's North American International Auto Show, VW showed a three-row CrossBlue concept SUV (above) that looks close to production ready.

"After the success of the U.S. version of the Passat, the goal is to establish ourselves in another core segment," Volkswagen AG Chairman Martin Winterkorn told the Detroit News on Thursday. Production chief Michael Macht said Volkswagen will either expand Chattanooga or build a second U.S. plant, and VW sales chief Christian Klingler said a handful of U.S.-specific models could follow.

Through February, the Ford Explorer was by far the most popular three-row crossover SUV, outselling the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot — in second and third place, respectively — by nearly 2-to-1 each.

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Volkswagen CrossBlue at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show
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Comments 

Jerry Baustian

This could work very well, IF these new SUVs are diesel-powered. Consumers have been very accepting of the TDI-powered Jettas, Passats, Golfs, and even Beetles. They will eagerly buy a full-size SUV that gets 30+ mpg combined highway and city, when the competing models barely get 20 mpg.... as long as the sticker prices are about the same. That means base prices in the mid-$20k range for the TDI version.

Diesel

According to VW's USA site, the cheapest diesels range from 24K - 25K, and those are the Jetta, Golfs, and Beetle. I highly doubt VW will offer a mid-20K SUV, probably 30K and up. (especially since the Touareg is 47K+ for a diesel)

Hey! Great news, for the local economy and great news for VW fans.

That VW is a pretty gorgeous looking SUV. The front looks a bit like the Land Rover Defender. If this one came in Diesel then I'd definitely consider it.

Bob

I just hope that they export this model to Europe. It would be great to have more choice in 7 seat SUVs over here. And the build quality of the US produced German manufacturers is now as good if not better than those produced in Germany.

I like Volkswagen’s car. Volkswagen was reliable and still very reliable. But nowadays, Japanese cars have an excellent reliably record too. So, VW has to work hard to compete in different area. I think it is not a bad idea to design a model for this area. There is a need for a big SUV which fits 7 adults and cost less to own and maintain than the rivalry. If they succeed, I will be first who buy one.

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