As Volkswagen unveiled a concept coupe Monday at the Detroit auto show, the automaker made it clear that it views the U.S. as a crucial market.
Volkswagen expects to double its market share from 2% to 4%, selling as many as 450,000 vehicles in the U.S. in the next three to four years. The automaker expects to be profitable in North America in 2013 as it launches new vehicles built in the U.S.
“Volkswagen is at home in America,” said Stefan Jacoby, CEO of Volkswagen American operations.
VW plans to ramp up production in North America. In August, it plans to start building the new Jetta in Mexico.
In July 2011, the automaker plans to start building its midsize sedan at a new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., which is expected to produce 150,000 vehicles a year.
Shortly after that, the automaker plans to start producing its new Beetle in Mexico. Adding production in North America should help VW fend off unfavorable currency exchange rates it has encountered shipping cars from Europe to the U.S.
VW’s new two-door concept may never hit the road, but the automaker’s attractive concept car drops clear hints about the styling of the upcoming Jetta sedan and station wagon, the brand’s best-selling cars in the U.S.
The sculpted sides, narrow, full-width grille and thin headlights that wrap around into the concept’s flared fenders all carry VW’s new look forward. The concept measures 178.5 inches long, 55.6 inches high and 70.1 inches wide, about 0.8 inches shorter and 1.8 inches lower than the 2010 Jetta sedan.
VW says the hybrid powertrain offers combined city/highway fuel economy of 45 m.p.g. and a top speed of 141 m.p.h. The concept uses a 150-horsepower turbocharged, direct-injection 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine, 20 kW electric motor, lithium-ion battery and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The battery has enough power for the concept to be driven in all-electric mode at low speeds.
From:Detroit Free Press