By Drew Johnson
Thursday, May 31st, 2012 @ 1:10 pm
 
Volkswagen says it is seriously considering a new mid-size SUV to help the company to its goal of selling 800,000 units in the United States market by 2018. The new mid-size SUV, which would slot between the Tiguan and Touareg, could be built at VW's Chattanooga, Tennessee production plant.

Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen of America, revealed to the Detroit Free Press that the company is considering the idea of a new utility vehicle larger than the compact Tiguan but smaller than the full-size Touareg. The proposed SUV would presumably hit the sweet spot of the market, competing with vehicles like the Ford Edge and Hyundai Santa Fe.

"It's a great opportunity," Browning said of a mid-size SUV. "If you could give it to me tomorrow, I would take it."

Browning failed to give a time frame for when we might see such a vehicle, but the executive confirmed the idea is "under discussion."

If the project gets the go-ahead, VW could produce the new SUV at its Chattanooga plant. The factory currently has the capacity to produce 150,000 Passats annually, but Browning says the plant can be cranked up to produce 250,000 vehicles per year. Moreover, VW has room to build a second plant at the Chattanooga location, which would double annual capacity to 500,000 units.

In addition to the new mid-size SUV, VW is also reportedly planning two smaller utility vehicles. However, those SUVs aren't expected to make it to the United States.