US market: VW builds a new off-road vehicle

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VW is building a new off-road vehicle

US market: VW builds a new off-road vehicle-builds

The new SUV from VW has been known as a study under the name Crossblue since the beginning of 2013. The car measures five meters, offers space for seven people and will be available in the USA at the end of 2016f the market

Source: Volkswagen

VW’s sales figures in the US are still crumbling, although the American market is growing overall. VW boss Winterkorn is relying on an important new car – but no turning point is in sight before 2016.

D.This direction is actually no longer known in Wolfsburg: downwards. The important American car market, which was the largest sales area in the world until 2013, is becoming more and more of a problem for the Volkswagen group every day. While almost all automakers are benefiting from growth in the US, VW is selling fewer cars for the 15th consecutive month. There were 28,800 in June with a total market of 1.4 million – a good two percent market share for VW, which is not found in any other important country in the world.

Two reasons for the misery have been recognized, and the board now wants to put an end to at least one. CEO Martin Winterkorn has officially announced what the sparrows have been whistling from the rooftops for a long time: There will be a new model especially for the US market, a so-called mid-size SUV. Medium size, that means in American: five meters long, space for seven people. The new car, which was shown as a study under the name Crossblue at the Detroit Motor Show 2013, is to be built at the VW plant in Chattanooga (Tennessee). This factory has been in operation for three years and so far has only produced the US version of the Passat mid-range sedan.

And this car is the second reason for the misery. Because the Passat is less and less popular with American buyers. A good year after the start of sales in 2011, the Passat numbers began to move backwards – a new experience for VW. The reason given is the claim that VW did not understand certain peculiarities of the American market. US buyers are used to receiving news from manufacturers every two years at the latest, be it improved equipment or a slight visual makeover.

The USA boss was changed

The German group refuses to do this, even though the USA is considered to be the key market for the goal of being the world’s largest automaker by 2018. In order for this to work, Winterkorn had set annual US sales of 800,000 VW brand cars until 2018 – currently it is a little more than half.

The former head of VW of America is also to blame for this, according to Wolfsburg. The Briton Jonathan Browning was too hesitant to order new variants and equipment from the group. And Wolfsburg can only plan what those responsible for the markets demand. Browning has left the company and at the beginning of 2014 the German took over Michael Horn, who was previously responsible for parts and service at VW worldwide.

Horn is relying on an extensive revision of the Passat, which is due to come in 2015, and on an improved range of SUVs. Before that takes effect, Horn needs other good ideas, but at least perseverance. Because a long version of the Tiguan is only planned for 2015, and according to VW, the new mid-size model will not go on sale before the end of 2016. The interesting thing about this car is that it is built on the modular transverse matrix, the platform introduced in 2012 for a large number of different car models. This lowers costs and enables VW to offer even a five-meter SUV as cheaply as American customers imagine.

Not having asked for such a large, but not expensive SUV earlier is chalked up, among other things, ex-boss Browning, and successor Horn announced at the American auto shows this year that things will look better again when the new models are available.

"Opportunities not used consistently"

“They have SUVs in their range,” says car expert Ferdinand Dudenhoffer from the University of Duisburg-Essen. “There is the Tiguan in the USA and also the Touareg. But it sells worse than a Porsche Cayenne. ”According to Dudenhoffer’s criticism, American customers simply don’t understand what VW wants to be: a premium or volume manufacturer.

In fact, VW is positioning itself rather high on the one hand with models like the Touareg and the Beetle Cabriolet. The successor to the top model Phaeton is also to be exported to the USA again. On the other hand, the Passat is built more simply than the European model and offers it very cheaply. A US Passat starts at $ 20,995, while Honda is calling for $ 21,955 for its Accord. The Hyundai Sonata costs from 21,150 dollars, the Toyota Camry as market leader even 22,425 dollars.

VW also announced that Bernd Osterloh, head of the group works council, will move into the board of directors of Volkswagen of America. "The North American market offers great opportunities," said Osterloh, "which we have not used consistently enough in the past."

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