In an effort to expand its U.S. customer base, Volkswagen has announced plans to unveil a new five-seat Crossover version of its seven-seat SUV.
Expanding its reach in the growing crossover segment, the German automaker hopes, will expand its reach in the general SUV market — considered the second-biggest car market in the world.
The five-seat SUV will be officially unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show on January 12-13. Although this has not been officially confirmed, the new model is expected to be built at Volkswagen’s U.S. plant in Tennessee starting in 2016.
Volkswagen’s market share in the U.S. auto industry is lagging behind competitors, in part, because of it’s limited SUV options and focus instead on smaller vehicles.
While Volkswagen remains Europe’s largest automaker and the second most popular brand in the world — just behind Toyota — it’s market share in the United States has steadily declined. Sales were down 11 percent in the January to November period of 2014, for example.
Expanding into new segments of the auto industry, Volkswagen hopes, will boost U.S. sales. Through an estimated $7 billion investment over the next three years, Volkswagen hopes to double its U.S. sales to 800,000 cars.
Other automakers have taken similar initiatives to attract American drivers. Porsche, for example, released its Macan SUV in April. Audi is expected to release its Q1 baby SUV in 2016. Even luxury automakers like Bentley and Lamborghini are slated to release SUVs in the next few years.