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Volkswagen Thinks Young People Will Rebel Against SUVs

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The marque's third EV could be the perfect solution.

Ford shocked the industry when it announced last year its decision to drop all conventional cars, meaning sedans and hatchbacks, from its North American lineup. Buick and Chevrolet have also made a similar decision with the likes of the LaCrosse and Impala. Volkswagen, however, has no such plans. In fact, VW North America President and CEO Scott Keogh believes the SUV craze will quiet down, and VW will be ready.

Speaking at the 2019 LA Auto Show this week, Keogh revealed a prediction that might come true sooner or later. "You could make an argument at some point there will be a rebellion against the SUV," he said. "It will come, and that will cause an adjustment. It'll cause a modification so we think it makes sense to stay in the segment."

Trends come and go, just like minivans, for example. Today's SUV crossover buyers rebelled against the minivans they grew up with.

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VW currently sells the compact Jetta and soon to launch redesigned midsize Passat. Both are safe, but Keogh added VW will be "smart about it. Be smart about inventories, and be smart about investments and everything else." But his SUV rebellion prediction does not necessarily mean young people today will flock to sedans when they're older, but rather something else. The all-electric ID.Space Vizzion Concept VW unveiled at this year's show is one possible future SUV crossover alternative. Yes, a return to wagons.

Keogh confirmed the third ID-branded EV product in the US - following the spring reveal of the ID.4 crossover and, at a later date, the production-spec ID. Buzz - will be a production version of the ID.Space Vizzion. All three vehicles share the MEB platform.

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"What we love about this car [ID.Space Vizzion] is it's super-prime for aerodynamics, which of course gives the car great range. 300 miles+ EPA range on this car. Whether we bring it exactly as you see it there or whether we bring it in a more let's call [Subaru] Outback all-road version, where we lift it up a little bit with all-wheel drive… that's certainly another way to go. A third way to go is, of course, to look at the seat filler treatment and whether we can break it a little more like a Sportback-ish type of vehicle or keep it what you see currently. So this is what we're looking at."

Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen AG

A wagon or even a sedan EV is actually better aerodynamically than an SUV, so it's no surprise VW is heading in this direction. Keogh added that when looking at electrified vehicles, "you're not going to be able to keep your classic segment definitions exactly the way they are. But I think the classic body style definitions are going to have to start to tweak with electrification."

As far as the ID.Space Vizzion, Keogh said the VW team now has to decide whether its design is "too wagon-y." Whatever styling option is ultimately chosen, VW will be ready with a cool EV for those tired of SUVs.

Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen AG

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