Volkswagen to introduce SUV in North America as part of $7B investment plan

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Jan 13, 2014 01:27 AM EST

As part of its investment push worth more than $7 billion, Volkwagen intends to launch a sports utility vehicle in North America in 2016, Bloomberg reported. The investment program, which the carmaker seeks to implement in the next five years, is aimed at revitalizing the region's sales growth.

In an emailed statement, the German carmaker told Bloomberg that it plans to stick by its goal of increasing the combined yearly sales volume in the US of both its Volkswagen and Audi brands to 1 million in four years.

The report quoted Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn as saying, "We want many more American drivers to feel at home with our group brands and are working to achieve that with 100 percent commitment and plenty of passion. Volkswagen's midsize SUV for America is on its way."

The third largest automaker in the world after Toyota Motor Corp and General Motors Co, Volkswagen was able to post record deliveries in 2013 due to increasing demand in China as well as its growing share of the European market. However, the carmaker has been struggling to gain a foothold in the US, a market that would enable Volkswagen to lead the industry sales by 2018, the report said.

Citing data from automotive research firm Autodata Corp, Bloomberg reported that last year, SUVs and crossover vehicles have increased their market share in the US to 30.9%. This compared with 29.7% from the year before. Volkswagen only has two SUV offerings in the US-the compact Tiguan and the mid-sized Touareg which, at $43,995, costs 11% more than Toyota's premium Lexus RX, the report said.

Two sources told Bloomberg on January 10 that Volkwagen is looking to manufacture the new SUV for the North American market in its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee instead of its factory in Puebla, Mexico.

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