VW Plans to Build Large SUV in North America image

VW is currently analyzing the possibility of manufacturing a large SUV in the States, according to the company’s executives.

VW plans to almost double its sales in the US to 800,000 vehicles by 2018 and this large SUV might be the key to achieving this plan. The company unveiled in January at the Detroit auto show a three-row, seven-seat concept SUV and Ulrich Hackenberg, VW’s board member for product development, said that the German automaker has already began to contact dealers and customers and make an idea regarding the SUV’s potential sales.

“Right now, the cost is a little too high,” said Michael Macht, VW’s board member for production, of the business case developed so far. “That’s always how it works.”

Macht said that the SUV will be manufactured in North America, but that Chattanooga and Mexico are also possible sites. The automaker has been manufacturing the Passat sedan in Chattanooga since 2011, but said that a new plant in the US is an option. The Chattanooga plant has an annual capacity of 170,000 units and currently produces 135,000 units, so there is enough room for a second line.

“After the success of the U.S. version of the Passat,” VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said last week at VW’s annual press conference, “the goal is to establish ourselves in another core segment.”