Volkswagen’s Mexico Plant Ramps Up for 2017 Tiguan
First Body-in-White Stamped at Puebla
After being blindsided by the TDI emissions testing scandal, Volkswagen is scrambling to improve its fortunes in North America and other markets. One method that’s nearly as sure as shooting fish in a barrel is selling a competitive crossover model. While the Tiguan has been on sale in the U.S. since 2007, its high price, smallish size, and limited powertrain options kept it from being a mega-hit like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Ford Escape have become. The Tiguan may never attain those lofty sales numbers in the U.S., but VW is hoping the next-generation Tiguan may cut out a wider slice of the compact crossover pie. To prove its seriousness about competing in this cutthroat market, VW today released a photo of the first body-in-white of the long-wheelbase 2017 Tiguan to come out of its Puebla, Mexico, plant.
Previously built in Wolfsburg, Germany, the new Tiguan will be sourced exclusively from Puebla with the exception of China, where it will be built locally. While enthusiasts loved the first-generation Tiguan for its hot hatch–like driving manners and road dynamics, compact crossover shoppers were generally unimpressed by its Spartan equipment level for its price, small cargo area, and limited utility compared to its rivals. The new model coming to the U.S. will have a longer wheelbase for added cargo utility, and it will reportedly have an optional third row of seating. Regular production for the new Tiguan is expected to start in the first quarter of 2017.