VW will eventually build a two-row SUV in Tennessee.
Volkswagen has confirmed plans to build a second utility vehicle model at its Chattanooga, Tennessee production facility. VW is hoping that an expanded fleet of utility vehicle models will help speed its recovery in the United States market.
Speaking on the sidelines of the recent New York auto show, VW Group of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken told reporters, according to Automotive News, that the company will eventually add a five-seat crossover to the production mix at its Tennessee plant. Woebcken failed to give a timeframe for when that vehicle might enter production.
VW currently sells two five-seat SUVs in the U.S. — the compact Tiguan and the larger Touareg. However, it's unlikely that either of those nameplates will join the three-row Atlas SUV in Tennessee. VW will source the next-generation of its Tiguan from Mexico and the low-volume Touareg is built exclusively in Europe.
The most logical guess is that VW will build a production version of its Cross Coupe GTE concept in Chattanooga. Like the Atlas already being built there, the Cross Coupe GTE rides on a version of VW's modular MQB vehicle architecture. In essence, adding such a vehicle would give VW both long- and short-wheelbase versions of the Atlas.
VW recently completed a $900 million investment in its Chattanooga plant to build the Atlas. It remains unknown if that investment will allow for production a two-row crossover or if another round of spending will be necessary. Given the red-hot SUV market, we suspect an official announcement on the topic could be right around the corner.