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Volkswagen's Priorities Will Make It Really Hard To Build Anything Cool

We may not see Volkswagen take a lot of chances for a while.

Bringing diesels back remains on Volkswagen's agenda, and at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, Volkswagen Group of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken talked about the company's main priorities to Car and Driver. Woebcken says that while diesels could return by 2018, because of stringent emissions standards, “diesel will not come back to the same magnitude.” VW accounted for 25 percent of passenger-diesel sales, but “those levels will not come back" said Woebcken. So what is VW's priority right now? Crossovers and SUVs, obviously.

The new Atlas should be extremely important for VW's US lineup, which has needed a seven-seat SUV for a long time. The Tiguan and Touareg were always a bit too "German" to be successful in the US. In the past, VW's German office has overridden the North American office on naming decisions, which lead to names that are really hard to spell like Touareg. The Atlas will be called the Teramont in other markets, but was considered less appealing to US buyers. Another priority is to update its high-volume cars like the Jetta and Passat. In the past, these cars have been sold with technology that lags behind the competition.

New VW models comes with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, which should keep them fresh on the technology front. The company also wants to reveal up to 30 EV models by 2025, which is an ambitious goal. Woebcken was asked about other segments like "B segment pickups." When discussing a US-version of the Amarok, Woebcken said the "current platform isn’t suitable," but "when the platform gets replaced in the next year or two, a US version will be considered." He also said that he sees limited possibilities for the segment. In other words, don't hold your breath for anything cool like the Amarok. Diesels and SUVs are VW's priority.

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