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VW Confirms Tiguan Headed to Mexico

Executive Summary

The automaker will invest $1 billion to bring Tiguan production to North America. Output is expected to reach 500 units per day once in full swing at the Puebla plant.

Volkswagen makes it official, naming its Puebla, Mexico, operation the production site of a new-generation Tiguan CUV that will hit the market in 2017.

The automaker announced in January it would build the revamped model somewhere in North America, but didn’t confirm the location. Currently, U.S.-sold Tiguans are imported from VW’s Wolfsburg, Germany, operation.

The Puebla plant was considered the obvious choice for North American sourcing, because VW’s Chattanooga, TN, factory already is undergoing expansion to build the upcoming CrossBlue midsize CUV, and the smaller Tiguan would be an easier fit at the Mexican plant where other MQB-based models such as the Golf and Jetta already are assembled.

VW says it will spend $1 billion to expand and modernize the facility to make way for the Tiguan and to add tooling at supplier operations. Capacity for the new model will be 500 units per day, and production will be earmarked for North and South America, plus other world markets excluding the European Union and China.

The investment will add 969,000 sq.-ft. (90,000 sq.-m) of floor space, including a new highly automated body shop. Some 2,000 people will be employed at the Puebla plant directly related to Tiguan production, VW says.

“Localization has become key to safeguarding our competitive position on the global market and manufacturing the Tiguan in Mexico will bring production closer to the U.S.-market,” Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn says. “It is another proof point that Volkswagen is committed to further growth in the U.S. and North American markets.

“With production of the Golf A7 and the Tiguan now moved to Puebla, we will build approximately 90% of our products in the NAFTA region.”

The switch to North American sourcing is expected to enable VW to craft the Puebla-built Tiguan closer to U.S. customer demands. VWA executives have said for some time the vehicle is too small for the American market, so a somewhat bigger footprint is expected to be among key changes to the 2017 vehicle.

dzoia@wardsauto.com

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