Volkswagen AG has approved the production of a mid-sized sports utility vehicle based on its CrossBlue Concept, something that the company’s executives in the United States have been asking for. The new SUV is tailored to appeal to American consumers and is considered by VW executives and dealers as vital to the brand's US growth strategy.
VW is planning to roll out the SUV in the US in 2016. A company spokesman remarked that the final version of the SUV will be almost identical to the CrossBlue concept unveiled at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. The seven-seat SUV was modeled after popular models such as the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander.
"The basic design [of the concept] is exactly what you'd see coming to market," Volkswagen of America spokesman Scott Vazin said.
While there have been reports that Volkswagen may build the SUV at its Chattanooga site in Tennessee rather than in Mexico, the carmaker has yet to decide where the vehicle would be produced, Vazin said.
The Chattanooga plant commenced operations in 2011 and builds the Passat sedan. Volkswagen's top US executives have already submitted a proposal to expand the site’s capacity from 150,000 units to 250,000 units to accommodate the production of a new SUV.
“We want many more American drivers to feel at home with our Group brands and are working to achieve that with one hundred percent commitment and plenty of passion”, Winterkorn said on the eve of North America’s most prestigious auto show.