VW to increase CUV, SUV presence

Jan 7, 2011

From Colum Wood, Autoguide.com

As part of a larger plan to grow its brand in the United States, Volkswagen plans to add more SUVs and crossovers to its lineup. In an interview with Automotive News, VW’s U.S. boss, Jonathan Browning, said that the first place the German automaker is looking to make substantial growth is in the compact-SUV segment, where cars like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape and Chevy Equinox dominate.

As for exactly what VW is planning, Browing remained tight-lipped but did comment that, “We’ve got plenty of ideas in terms of new product entries.”

Currently VW offers just the Tiguan and Touareg in North America, selling 20,946 Tiguans to U.S. customers last year, and just 4,713 Touaregs. Based on those numbers, Honda ‘s CR-V sells at a rate of 10:1 when compared to the Tiguan.

In addition to adding models, it’s possible that VW will look to follow its down-market plan, initiated with the new 2011 Jetta, when it comes to the Tiguan compact crossover – a vehicle that’s so expensive it’s often cross-shopped with luxury models rather than its intended rivals.

Browning also believes there’s space in the large SUV segment. He did not, however, comment on if VW would look to grow its U.S. sales with the introduction of the Amarok pickup in North America.