Atlas-based two-row variant will be third vehicle built in Chattanooga.
Volkswagen teased the first in what may be many Atlas variants when it announced the a five seat, two-row Atlas set for a reveal at the 2018 New York Auto Show next week. In a release today, Volkswagen stated the new model will be built at its US assembly plant in Chattanooga, TN, alongside the seven seat, three-row Atlas and the Passat midsize sedan. It "will be designed and engineered for the American market," claimed Volkswagen in the announcement release.
"The Atlas has built strong momentum for Volkswagen in the SUV segment, and we are excited to grow our SUV portfolio with this new, Chattanooga-assembled five-passenger SUV," said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. "We are not only committed to this market, we are committed to our US manufacturing home in Chattanooga, Tennessee." Volkswagen will invest an additional $340 million in the plant to bring the new Atlas variant to production. While the Atlas sits squarely in one of the most popular automotive segments in the U.S., there's still a lot of white space between it and the much smaller Tiguan.
A new two-row model, if shortened, could compete with the Ford Flex, Nissan Murano, and other midsize two-row offerings. If not, expect it to just be an Atlas with a bigger trunk. The teaser shot suggests the Atlas variant will get a slightly more aggressive headlight and grille design, though behind those updated pieces you'll likely find the same 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 and 3.6-liter V6 engines that power the larger, three-row Atlas. Volkswagen will reveal the new Atlas variant in concept form on the eve of the New York Auto Show next week.