VW Group to invest $7 billion in North America, offer new SUV

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CEO of the company Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn made the announcement just a few days prior to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. Despite the company’s huge success in countries such as Brazil, Russia and China, they still trail behind motoring juggernauts Toyota and General Motors in world sales.

To keep up with their demanding strategy, VW must sell a million vehicles annually until 2018. This includes 800,000 vehicles with a VW badge, and 200,000 with an Audi badge.

Winterkorn stated at the full line presentation: “We have set our goal: Volkswagen Group of America aims to sell one million Volkswagen and Audi cars per year in the US by 2018. We are taking up the challenge – with confidence, total commitment and the necessary staying power. The Group has almost doubled unit sales in the US since 2008, setting a new record of over 600,000 deliveries in 2013.”

The key to VW’s planned success will be in the development and production of the SUV, a North American favourite. “I’m delighted to confirm what so many have been waiting so long to hear: Volkswagen’s mid-size SUV for America is on its way,” confirmed Winterkorn. He emphasised how important this was for the growth of the company.

The most exciting prospect coming from VW’s new vehicle line is the mid sized seven seated SUV based on the CrossBlue concept. It is unnamed as of yet, and should be available in 2016. Winterkorn kept his cards close to his chest on this one, but it is thought it should fit somewhere between the Toureg and Tiguan, VW’s existing mid sized SUVs. This will put it in direct competition with the Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder and Honda Pilot.

The CrossBlue concept, which the new model will be based on, has a diesel engine but is thought to also have four cylinder V6 gasoline versions. It is thought that the versions including electric motors to power a four-wheel drive system that significantly increases the fuel economy will appear in a special electric model.

There was no word on whether VW were looking to pursue new SUV ventures in the Audi or Porsche brands.

The production of the seventh generation Golf is also firmly in VW’s growth plans. The model was named European & World car of the year in 2013 and production with the intention to sell to a North American market will start in January 2014 at their production facility in Puebla, Mexico. It is expected to have a Summer 2014 release, which VW are excited about, as it is only second to the Toyota Corolla in sales.

Winterkorn concluded: “The Volkswagen Group is staying on course with qualitative growth. As a Group we will be investing over seven billion dollars in North America over the next five years.”

He finished by saying “We want many more American drivers to feel at home with our Group brands and are working to achieve that with one hundred percent commitment and plenty of passion”.