Volkswagen has made no secret of its global and North American sales ambitions, and 2013 was somewhat of a disappointment, with sales of the Passat sedan down significantly for the year. But Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn promises the pieces are falling into place to make VW a more formidable competitor in the North American market in the years ahead.
One of the most critical pieces missing from VW's North American product portfolio has been a mainstream, midsize SUV. The Touareg, although midsize dimensionally, is decidedly premium in its pricing and positioning, and not a direct competitor to some of the volume players in the segment such as the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, and Nissan Pathfinder.
That will change in 2016 with the introduction of a seven-passenger, three-row Volkswagen SUV specifically for the North American market. The CrossBlue concept shown at last year's Detroit show is believed to be a fairly accurate preview of the production model's styling and packaging. It's believed the three-row SUV will be manufactured at VW's Chattanooga plant where the North American Passat sedan is built, although VW has not made an official announcement on the production site.