Volkswagen Confirms SUV Production Based On Passat's Platform
|   Friday, July 18, 2014
Volkswagen will build in the U.S. a seven-seat crossover, beginning with the second half of 2016. The statement came during a press conference at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Volkswagen representatives announced that the plant will receive an investment of 900 million dollars to increase production and introduce a new model.

Besides the SUV, inspired by the CrossBlue concept, Volkswagen will unveil a design and development center in the United States, where it will hire 200 engineers to make adjustments to the models for that market.


The CrossBlue concept is formally placed between two SUVs of the brand, although it has bodywork that proposes atypical sizes for a model that wants to be in the intermediate segment. The CrossBlue is longer than the Touareg, which measures 4795 mm. The length of CrossBlue is 4986 mm, the width is 2014 mm and the height is 1732 mm. Unlike the six seats on the concept, the series version will have, and seven-seater versions, says Volkswagen.

The Germans from Volkswagen will use these investments to achieve the sales target for the year 2018, which involves doubling sales in the United States market.

Currently, Volkswagen produces the American version of the Passat at the plant in Chattanooga, and the second model to be built there will take on the same technical platform.

The decision to invest in the United States is intriguing to some auto analysts, but is easily explained in the context of Audi's owners, BMW as well as Mercedes-Benz have decided to invest in Mexico, so people at Volkswagen were able to enjoy the advantages of local authorities in regard to the expansion of existing plants, which, by the way, will create 2,000 more jobs.

With this investment Volkswagen will be able to cover a gap in its range, in the form of a seven-seater crossover that will be able to compete with rivals like the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander.

"This is the beginning of the second Volkswagen offensive in the U.S. We want to be even faster in meeting the targeted wishes of customers in the United States. Our big objective is clear: By 2018, the Volkswagen brand wants to sell about 800,000 vehicles per year in the U.S. and we will do our utmost to achieve that. We are listening even closer to the wishes of American drivers," said CEO Martin Winterkorn.

This crossover was expected to be built at the Chattanooga plant, inaugurated in 2011 and boasting an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles, just before the unveiling the CrossBlue concept in the beginning of 2013 at the Geneva Motor Show.

Frank Fischer, who led the Chattanooga plant by March, told Automotive News that an assembly line for the new crossover was built, which upped the plant's capacity to 250,000 units per year.

Bill Haslam, Tennessee governor, and other officials from the Tennessee Economic Development Agency gave close to 300 million dollars in incentives to VW in order to build the plant in their state and hire more people. Since the closure in 1988 of the assembly factory from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, opening the Chattanooga plant is the first step towards VW production in the USA.
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