Smaller VW SUV on the way, but more may be coming

February 10, 2020

Volkswagen's newest chief of operations says the automaker's upcoming small crossover may not be the only SUV the automaker adds to its growing lineup.

VW Chief Operating Officer Johan De Nysschen told The Car Connection last week at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show that there may be room for more crossover derivatives in the automaker's lineup.

"The answer is yes," De Nysschen said.

He added that automakers like VW struggle to justify adding new cars to their menus because of increased costs to develop cars with two powertrains: gas and electric.

"The whole industry is engaged now in this shift...from internal combustion engine entries to electrification. And this puts the challenge in front of all (automakers) in terms of doubling up on investments," he said.

De Nysschen said that the company would roll out soon a crossover smaller than the Tiguan, which reportedly will be called "Tarek," and its all-electric ID4 all-electric small crossover will appear soon. Both are expected before the end of the year.

But De Nysschen and Volkswagen may decide to add more crossovers like it has with its Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport crossovers already on sale. Both the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport share similar powertrains and similar dimensions—both are even built at the automaker's Chattanooga, Tennessee facility—but offer three or two rows of seats, respectively.

He added that VW may in the future offer all-electric or gas-powered versions of its most popular crossovers, Tiguan and Atlas, while only offering one or the other with the rest of its lineup to reduce costs and complexity. 

That leaves in doubt the future of other VW cars such as the Jetta and Passat, which have seen slower sales in the face of increased demand for crossovers and SUVs. De Nysschen said that the Passat, which was redesigned in 2020, may be replaced by an electric car when its current run is finished.

"While no decision has been made, I would say it's probably a reasonable assumption that when this Passat reaches the end...its successor will probably not feature an internal combustion engine," he said.

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