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VW to Build Tiguan in North America

Executive Summary

Volkswagen of America executives have been complaining for years that the current Tiguan is not sized right for the U.S. market, and the planned, locally built stretched model is an attempt to remedy that.

DETROIT – Volkswagen says it will launch production of a long-wheelbase Tiguan model in North America in 2017, part of its strategy to bolster its lineup of CUVs for the U.S. market.

Executives aren’t specifying where the bigger Tiguan will be built, but the Pueblo, Mexico, plant is the likely candidate to get the new model.

“The timing is firm and I think in a couple of months we can announce what plant will get that,” Volkswagen of America President and CEO Michael Horn says.

VWA executives have been complaining for years that the current Tiguan is not sized right for the U.S. market, and the planned stretched model is an attempt to remedy that. VWA Horn says the new version will be the only Tiguan sold in the U.S., with no plans to continue importing the standard-wheelbase model.

Announcement of the sourcing switch was made here in the eve of the opening of the North American International Auto Show, where VW also showed a picture of its Cross Coupe GTE concept that will make its debut at the show Monday. The concept is a coupe-like 5-passenger version of the CrossBlue CUV that will be built in Chattanooga, TN, beginning 2016.

VW CEO Martin Winterkorn says the launch of the CrossBlue next year will kick off the “biggest SUV offensive in the (Volkswagen) brand’s history.

“More is in the pipeline,” he adds, after showing the photo of the show concept, promising a vehicle along the lines of the Cross Coupe GTE will make it into the lineup, complete with a plug-in electric powertrain. The show car is fitted wit a 3.6L V-6, plus two electric motors and all-wheel drive.

Details are scant on the bigger Tiguan, but Horn indicates it will seat seven passengers, at least in 2-wheel-drive form. He says the automaker is still formulating seating plans for the 4-wheel-drive model.

dzoia@wardsauto.com

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