In an effort to further expand its appeal to the North American market, Volkswagen will be adding a new 7-seater midsize SUV to its model lineup. The new midsize SUV, largely based on the recent CrossBlue concept, will be manufactured in the U.S. and will join the Passat at the Chattanooga plant in Tennessee.
As with any automaker who manufactures its cars in America, Volkswagen will be creating a lot of jobs for the American people and will be funneling a huge sum of money into the American economy. This new midsize SUV, which is based on the CrossBlue concept that was presented at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, will require a $900 million investment, $600 million of which will go to the plant in Chattanooga and actual production.
As is, the Chattanooga plant is unfit to manufacture VW's new SUV. That is why VW is dedicating some of its investment to building a new, independent National Research and Development and Planning Center of the VW Group of America as well as an extra 538,000 sq. ft. to the assembly plant. This giant add-on to Chattanooga will provide at least 2,000 living-wage jobs and 200 engineer positions to Americans. It is VW's goal, called Strategy 2018, to deliver 800,000 vehicles to the U.S. by 2018. During this time, it is estimated that VW will invest almost $7 billion in U.S. and Mexico.
Currently, VW is already one of Chattanooga's biggest employers. Over the past few years, the German automaker has brought over 12,000 jobs to Tennessee, which is helping build the middle class in that area. As the Chattanooga plant expands, it is solidifying its roll as the center of the automotive south.
Way back when in 2013 when the CrossBlue concept was first unveiled, it was presented as a TDI clean diesel-electric plug-in hybrid with an expected fuel rating of 35 combined mpg. On pure electric mode, it achieves 89 mpg and has a range of 14 miles on its 9.8 kW lithium-ion battery. The hybrid setup can produce a total of 305 horsepower and 516 foot pounds of torque that can launch the CrossBlue from 0-60 in just over 7 seconds.
It won't be easy for the CrossBlue to make a name for itself in the competitive midsize SUV segment. It will face off against the highly successful and reliable Toyota Highlander, the Nissan Pathfinder, the Honda Pilot, and the Chevy Traverse. One thing that does set the CrossBlue apart right from the start is the TDI clean diesel hybrid; in recent years, Americans haven't been as reluctant to purchase diesel powered cars. We'll have to wait until 2016 to see how VW's new midsize SUV fares.