Volkswagen has announced that it will build a new midsize SUV in the USA. The seven-seater, developed for North America and previewed by the Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept from Detroit 2013, will roll out from VW’s Chattanooga plant in Tennessee.
Expanding its industrial footprint in the US is part of VW’s Strategy 2018 plan. Wolfsburg will be investing a total of approximately US$900 million in the production of the new SUV, creating 2,000 additional jobs in the US. About US$600 million will be invested in Tennessee.
Chattanooga will also receive a National Research & Development and Planning Center, which will serve Volkswagen Group of America by identifying customer feedback and integrating them into existing and planned vehicle models in a speedy manner. From 2014 to 2018, VW will be investing more than US$7 billion in the US and Mexico, with a goal to deliver 800,000 vehicles in the US by 2018.
“The USA is and will remain one of the most important markets for VW. With the midsize SUV, the expansion of the Chattanooga plant and the new development center, the focus is on the wishes of the US customer. This is also a strong signal for the US as an industrial and automobile production location. The Volkswagen brand is going on the attack again in America,” said VW chairman Martin Winterkorn.
It’s a case of the German giant making up for lost time. “The North American market offers considerable opportunities. In my opinion, these have not been pursued with sufficient consistency in the past. With today’s decision to produce the midsize SUV in the USA, we are taking a key step,” said Bernd Osterloh, chairman of the Group Works Council of VW.
Built on the Golf’s MQB platform, the near five-metre long CrossBlue Concept has a 190 hp TDI Clean Diesel engine mated to a 54 hp electric motor in front and a 114 hp unit at the rear. The motors are powered by a lithium ion battery located in the centre tunnel. Combined output is an impressive 305 hp and 700 Nm of torque. A six-speed DSG does gearbox duties.
The production CrossBlue will fight popular North American “midsize” SUVs like the Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer. At last year’s Shanghai show, Volkswagen showed a sportier, five-seat version of the CrossBlue called the CrossBlue Coupe.
Volkswagen CrossBlue Coupe Concept from Shanghai 2013