Volkswagen to Add Mid-Sized SUV to U.S. Lineup
According to the reports, Volkswagen AG will be including a mid-sized SUV to its U.S. lineup. The plan has been disclosed by the chief executive officer of its unit in the country. But he refused to say when the new vehicle may be introduced or whether it was in under progression. Currently, VW is counting on its overhauled versions of its Passat, Beetle and Jetta cars that have been introduced since 2010 to reach U.S. sales of more than 500,000 vehicles this year. The automaker hopes a mid-sized SUV would help complete Volkswagen’s core portfolio in the United States. “There’s a great opportunity for us for a mid-size SUV in the U.S that would be positioned between the smaller Tiguan and larger Touareg SUVs,” said Jonathan Browning — CEO of Volkswagen of America.
Looking back, the two SUVs sold in the United States have a more than $20,000 gap in pricing with Tiguan — the smaller SUV starting at $22,840 and the Touareg priced at $43,375. Besides, Volkswagen opened a $1 billion plant in Chattanooga, Tenn a year ago to develop 150,000
sedans a year and the company now plans to add over 1,000 workers to meet their target to enhance the annual production of Passat. If it was 150,000 earlier, it is now 170,000 units, said Browning. He added that, with extra investments, the plant could be expanded and will be able to build more than 250,000 vehicles a year. As of now the company has no such plans, according to Browning.
Browning seemed pretty confident as he said that U.S. industrywide light-vehicle sales in May probably surpassed the firms’ internal calculations for a 20 percent boost from a year earlier. “At the moment, I would be surprised if it broke through the 30 percent level, but I think our forecast of 20 percent is maybe a little on the conservative side,” he said.