Volkswagen gives go signal for US-bound mid-sized SUV

Article by Anita Panait, on January 14, 2014

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.

Featuring six individual seats, the new CrossBlue is a fusion of the spaciousness of a minivan and of the engine technology and aesthetics of a sports utility vehicle. The new CrossBlue could also be considered as an ideal cruiser, thanks to its ability to provide supreme ride comfort and good all-round visibility for easy maneuvering. Moreover, the CrossBlue is an extremely safe space cruiser, as it is with a four-wheel drive system, ESP, and up to 12 airbags.

While the design of the new CrossBlue was penned in Germany – under the Walter de Silva, Head of Design for Volkswagen Group, and Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for Volkswagen Brand – it was done in close coordination with Volkswagen of America.

This combined endeavor resulted to a concept that fuses the clean lines of VW’s German "design DNA" and the masculinity of an American SUV. This way, the CrossBlue became a genuine car that doesn’t rely on show effects. Instead, the new CrossBlue presents a near-production looks of a possible new SUV from the German carmaker.

As wrapped in "CrossBlue Glass Flake" finish, the concept measures 4,987 mm in length, 2,015 mm in width and 1,733 mm in length. Its front and rear tracks are also considerably large, measuring 1,686 mm and 1,696 mm, respectively.

In addition, the CrossBlue concept rides on newly designed 21-inch alloy wheels hugged by 285/45 tires, all accommodated by flared wheel arches. The new CrossBlue owes its masculine character to its dynamic proportions, dominant track widths, large wheels as well as a long and wide bonnet.

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Topics: vw, suv, united states

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