Coming Soon: 'More American' VWs

January 13, 2008

The Passat CC that new Volkswagen of America president and CEO Stefan Jacoby introduced this afternoon will be a good fit for American drivers' tastes and American roads, he affirmed. But there's more on the way.

In his introduction of the Passat CC concept, Jacoby mentioned that Volkswagen is currently working on new compact and mid-size models specifically catered to the U.S. market. Later, he elaborated that as part of a new plan to expand sales in North America the brand is looking to form a solid base of four main-line models that will sell in the 100,000- to 120,000-per-year range each, then supplement those lines with specialty models such as the Eos, GTI, and Passat CC. Altogether, the automaker is targeting 800,000 U.S. sales annually.

The company's presentation this afternoon at the Detroit auto show showed footage of Jacoby actually journeying, notebook in hand, around the U.S., interviewing urbanites in Boston and New York, an oil man in Texas, and a couple in California.

Jacoby confirmed after the CC's introduction that in his first four months in the U.S. he's been struck by the size of everything, from the size of vehicles and roads to the size of portions in restaurants — musing that he's gained some pounds in the process.

“We have to make our cars a bit bigger and they have to be more American,” he confessed, gesturing back to the CC and speaking of the differences in market demands on either side of the ocean. He also expressed regret for the Phaeton's premature departure from the U.S. market. The model is still on sale in Europe.

Jacoby said that when the Passat CC goes on sale in the U.S. later this year it will be called exactly that, rather than being given a new nameplate. Officials gave no word as of yet on how the CC will be priced or marketed in the U.S., but we can assume that it will be positioned at the top of the Passat range, occupying the space formerly relegated to the short-lived Passat W8 and filling the price gap between the Passat and the Touareg SUV. Provided the premium isn't too high, we can see a lot of Passat buyers stepping up to the CC and its sleeker, more sophisticated style.

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