If you’re a Volkswagen dealer, you have to be frustrated with selling family vehicles. You have the Passat, which is picking up plenty of sales for the German automaker. Then, you have the Volkswagen Routan, which is more or less a decontented, more expensive Chrysler Town & Country. That’s becoming a fleet-only model for 2014.
And from there, all you have to sell is the the Volkswagen Touareg, which starts at $44,820, including $875 for destination and handling. If Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has his way, that won’t be the case for too much longer.
The CEO says will “take initiative” to get a new three-row crossover into the market that will more than likely square up with the Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot among others, which suggests that it’ll come in at around $30,000. At the dealer meeting where Winterkorn was speaking to salespeople, he was accompanied by both the Volkswagen CrossBlue and CrossBlue Coupe concept cars, both crossovers that show the direction VW is likely to take. We have it on very good authority that at least the CrossBlue is very close to what the production-ready version will look like.
Volkswagen has invested huge sums of money into its Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant that currently makes the Volkswagen Passat for the North American market. It has capacity to make many more vehicles there, too, one of which is expected to be the CrossBlue.
The concept version was powered by a hybrid powertrain paired with the company’s 3.6-liter V-6. The production version could adopt a similar powertrain.
Volkswagen is limited in the number of larger vehicles it has in the U.S., yet its ambitions still point towards selling upwards of 800,000 vehicles here by 2018. To do that, it will have to break into more popular segments like three-row crossovers and make some more affordable vehicles. We have it on good authority that the CrossBlue will be coming sometime after the Routan leaves production, so expect it for the 2015 or 2016 model year. And other, smaller people movers could be following shortly thereafter.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)