In recent news, we have been hearing that Volkswagen’s next plan for their SUV lineup is a two-row, five seater version of the Atlas. The automaker then confirmed that the model will be built at their Chattanooga, Tennessee plant and that we should expect a concept version of it at the 2018 New York Auto Show later this month. At the moment of writing, the automaker has not given the new model a name, so it currently is being referred to as an “Atlas variant”.
Volkswagen’s desire to offer a wider range of SUVs in the US market was never a secret to the public. In fact, there had been reports about this late last year. In addition to that, we also heard during Chicago Auto Show that Volkswagen is planning on adding two more SUVs to join the Atlas and the Tiguan.
Now, speaking of the new VW SUV, it will probably have the same base as the Atlas and the Tiguan. Meaning that it will also sit on the MQB modular chassis. The company also added that this particular model was specifically designed and engineered to fit the United States specs. When you look closely at the teaser image, the design language simply matches the regular Atlas, with its wide horizontal grille and rectangular headlights on both ends.
In terms of dimensions, the new five seat model could turn out to be shorter in length than that of the current seven-seater Atlas. The entry level model could also be more affordable to the market.
Right now, customers could get the smaller Tiguan in either a five or seven seat configuration, depending on which one works for them. Without a doubt, providing more choices will definitely attract customers, given the fact that there is an increasing buyer preference for SUVs of all shapes and sizes. Meanwhile, United States customers should not expect the Touareg to hit dealerships as VW has no plans of bringing it there.
CEO of Volkswagen North American Region, Hinrich Woebcken, said in one of his statements that the Atlas alone has built a strong momentum for VW in the SUV segment, and they are excited to offer the five seater version of this in the SUV portfolio.
Last month alone, VW’s US sales consisted of mostly SUVs, adding up to 54 percent. This is due to the growing popularity of the Atlas and the Tiguan. These two models are currently the automaker’s best selling models.
Having said all that, the automaker will invest $340 million to expand the Chattanooga plant so they could build the new SUV there. Currently, this plant is in charge of building the Atlas and the Passat sedan models.