Carmakers fill Detroit Auto Show with crossover concepts

Article by Anita Panait, on January 18, 2013

The ongoing Detroit Auto Show underscores the significant growth in one of the most popular vehicle segments in the United States – crossovers. A number of carmakers from around the world paraded their crossover concepts at the show, demonstrating the growing diversity of car-based vehicles that offer the styling, space as well as functionality of a truck-based sport-utility vehicle. One of the possible entries to the US crossover segment is the CrossBlue concept of German carmaker Volkswagen AG.

The CrossBlue provides a glimpse of a new midsize seven-passenger crossover vehicle that VW intends to produce at its plant in Tennessee in early 2015. Its production version is expected to enter the US crossover fray.

Nissan also unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show its Nissan Resonance concept, a preview of the Japanese carmaker’s the redesigned 2014 Murano crossover and its new hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain. Honda, on the other hand, unveiled its Honda Urban sports utility vehicle that previews a Fit-based crossover. Ford Motor Co's premium brand, Lincoln, unveiled the Lincoln MKC, its first compact crossover that will hit the market early 2014.

Meanwhile, VW made a forecast this week that the US market for midsize crossovers will grow by over a fifth by 2021. The crossover segment has been attracting diverse consumers – from retirees wanting a smaller vehicle to young families looking for another option to the minivan. The rise of the US crossover market started in the mid-1990s, and it built on the popularity of Toyota Motor Corp's RAV4 as well as Honda's CR-V compacts. According to data firm TrueCar.com, the crossover segment now accounts for 29.4 percent of vehicle sales in the US, up from 26.4 percent in 2009.

The design of the Volkswagen CrossBlue concept was penned in the carmaker’s home country, Germany, but in close cooperation with Volkswagen of America. Leading the design efforts were Walter de Silva and Klaus Bischoff, heads of design for the Volkswagen Group and the Volkswagen Brand, respectively. Thanks to these efforts, the CrossBlue concept managed to fuse the clean lines of German VW "design DNA" and the masculine character of an American sports utility vehicle. This allowed the CrossBlue concept to offer a glimpse of a possible new SUV model from the German carmaker.

Finished in "CrossBlue Glass Flake" paint, the CrossBlue concept has dimensions of 4,987 mm in length, 2,015 mm in width and 1,733 mm in height. This paint finish is contrasted by a body trim -- in stainless steel look – flowing around the lower body section of the CrossBlue. This concept SUV is designed by a team led by Marc Lichte.

Thanks to its wide tracks (1,686 mm on the front and 1,696 mm at the rear), newly designed 21-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 285/45 tires and flared wheel arches, the new Volkswagen CrossBlue concept is able to assert a bold yet confidence on-the-road stance. Its masculinity, meanwhile, is highlighted by its wide track, long and wide hood as well as by large wheels.

Meanwhile, the profile of the new CrossBlue reveals a pronounced, long hood with integrated air inlets, a long roof line and a very short front overhang. The profile also reveals a silhouette subtly ascending towards the rear, a graphical imprint complemented by a character line flowing from the headlights to the tail lights. Above the character line is a styled serving to terminate the row of side windows, which in turn are bordered by a solid aluminum frame.

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