Volkswagen Wants To Expand R Portfolio In The US


Get ready for more than just a Golf R in America.

Even dating back to the early 2000s, the US market has only received a very small taste of Volkswagen's R brand. The R32 Golf arrived back in 2004 but the US never received other R models like the Passat R36 or the Touareg R50. Even today, models like the recently-revealed T-Roc R SUV remain forbidden fruit while the Golf R soldiers on alone as the only R model in the US lineup.

That could soon change, however, as we learned during a roundtable discussion with VW president and CEO Scott Keogh. When asked whether or not we could see additional R models here in the US, Keogh said, we are "actively looking to expand the R portfolio in America."

"Volkswagen is a brand of enthusiastic vehicles," Keogh added. "I think the Golf R has been a tremendous success in terms of profitability." The R brand clearly has strong brand recognition amongst enthusiasts so VW could easily capitalize by introducing more models in the US.

As for which models could be given the R treatment, Keogh left that up to speculation. "There's nothing I can announce to you in terms of products but if you know anything about me on the Audi side, we worked hard to get more RS models [in the US] and I want to do the same for Volkswagen." We do know VW has already ruled out the need for a Jetta R, saying such a model would be too expensive.

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Although we didn't learn exactly which models could be spiced up with an R variant, Keogh also confirmed that we could see more GTI-branded models as well. "I think we will see a combination of both," Keogh said in reference to the GTI and R brands. "I think the GTI is one of the strongest brand equity names that we have."

R models have often used all-wheel-drive drivetrains compared to GTI models, which utilize front-wheel-drive, so this could be a differentiating factor we see in the future. All of this is good news for VW enthusiasts in the US, who have eagerly been awaiting more performance models.