While overall the German parent is doing noticeably better after hitting record sales of more than 10 million vehicles last year, the namesake brand still struggles to find its pace in the world’s second-largest auto market – the United States.
Backed by an exhaustive expansion in China and Latin America and building on its dominance foundation in Europe, the core Volkswagen unit vies for leadership across worldwide regions. But, after ignoring for many years that archaic truism of tuning in to customer demand, the company aims to crack its last losing stronghold – North America. It changed leadership in 2014 after continued sales losses, as the carmaker focused on midsize sedans manufactured at the $1 billion factory in Tennessee and saw its sales disappointing: the passenger car brand lost 16% since 2012. According to a report coming from Reuters, citing company sources, VW plans to expand three times its model range in the rapid-growing SUV segment and introduce model upgrades faster in the product cycle.
Building on the already announced seven-place midsize sport-utility vehicle (SUV) to be built in the US factory, the company is rumored to also bring in Detroit this week for the North American International Auto Show a concept version of a five-seater variant. Additionally, a 200-strong expert team is being gathered at its US factory to upgrade the R&D and design programs – besides stepping up cooperation with its local suppliers – all to ensure the next vehicles would be suitable to American tastes.