Industry News

Volkswagen CEO Confirms New Small SUV For US

VW plots Chinese-designed, Mexican-built, “Volks-SUV” to slot below the Tiguan.

With almost every mainstream and luxury brand jumping into the subcompact crossover segment in North America, it was surprising that Volkswagen opted not to import the T-Roc or Tiguan to compete in that space. Instead the carmaker opted to keep selling the first-gen Tiguan as the Tiguan Limited at that price pointed approximate size - it always was too small for the ballooning compact class.

However, speaking at a press conference last week, Volkswagen brand CEO Herbert Diess revealed that a new product is on its way to the US to slot below the new Tiguan. While there was no strict timeline for its arrival, Diess told Automotive News, “We will supply the US from Mexico.” This makes a whole lot more sense than importing a low-margin vehicle like a subcompact SUV from Portugal, where the Tiguan and T-Roc are produced. This product, dubbed internally “Volks-SUV” (the People’s SUV, translated directly) according to Juergen Stackmann, head of VW brand sales, is not just a US special but a global product that will also be built at multiple locations.

Development will take place in China as part of tits a SAIC-VW joint venture, entering production there first and hitting their market as early as August. Production will follow at plants in Mexico, Argentina and Russia in 2020 for each of the various regions around the world, eventually ramping up to hit a goal of 400,000 sales per year. Diess is bullish on SUVs, and recognizes the need for them to drive sales growth. “In almost all regions we will almost double our SUV offerings by 2020.” Volkswagen will continue their SUV push both globally and in the US, with 20 models by 2020 reaching as high as 40% of their sales volume.

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