Amid Slowing Sales, Winterkorn Promises Crossover For VW Dealers

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
amid slowing sales winterkorn promises crossover for vw dealers

Volkswagen is having a bit of a tough year in America. As of June 1st, inventory for the brand stood at 105 days supply (third highest in the industry, behind Cadillac and Lincoln). 500 workers have been laid off from the Chattanooga assembly line due to slow sales of the Passat, while VW is offering 0 percent APR across the board. What VW lacks, according to dealers, is a mid-size crossover, something bigger than the Tiguan but less expensive than the Touraeg.

Automotive News reports that VW CEO Martin Winterkorn spoke to dealers at a meeting in the Washington, D.C. area, essentially promising them such a vehicle. Appearing with Winterkorn were the CrossBlue concept and the CrossBlue Coupe concept, two vehicles that are said to preview such a crossover.

As it stands, the big debate is over whether to build such a vehicle in Chattanooga, or in Mexico. Building it in Chattanooga would likely mean that those laid off workers would see the return of their jobs. But IG Metall, one of Germany’s biggest labor unions, and a big player on VW’s supervisory board, won’t approve plans for the new vehicle to be built in Tennessee unless workers are allowed to organize there.

There’s a lot at stake here. VW wants a product like this to be built at a factory of its choosing. IG Metall fears that a non-union shop will undermine other unionized VW factories in Europe. The UAW badly needs to organize a foreign plant in the South. Tennessee wants to uphold its reputation as a “right to work” state this is friendlier to business rather than organized labor. All this over a vehicle that many people reading this will immediately dismiss as just another boring crossover. Gotta love the auto industry.

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4 of 49 comments
  • Hummer Hummer on Jul 13, 2013

    What reason is there to buy a VW over a Kia, which offers more for a more reasonable price. VW is overpriced and severally low quality, with severe reliability issues. Do they honestly think people will ignore that for another economy brand? Just lower the price of the tiguan, it's extremely small for its price, you could get a much nicer and more reliable Tahoe, with more equipment, better build quality, and something to show for the money you spent.

  • JD321 JD321 on Jul 13, 2013

    VW should have had a RAV4/CR-V competitor years ago. They need a proper CUV that sells 10K units per month if they want to stay highly competitive. Unbelievable.

  • Mkeenly Mkeenly on Jul 14, 2013

    Tiguan, Touareg, Routan, blah, blah, blah. For the rest of us who like to drive cars, VW is not doing it for me. I own a 2003 GTI 20th Anniversary Edition, which I love. I've been waiting for a VW to replace it and was excited when I heard about the Golf R last year. Unfortunately, with it now available, I can't bring myself to justify the $35K sticker price. Although the standard GTI is a great driving car, it is BORING, BORING, BORING (Did I say BORING?). VW just lost my business for the next 10 years as I decided to instead purchase a 2013 Ford Focus ST. Fantastic car, great option packages, excellent sales experience, and out the door for $28K, fully loaded.

  • GaryM GaryM on Jul 16, 2013

    I have really enjoyed my '11 Tiguan- so far (30k miles) it is has been fun to drive, reliable, comfortable and awesome in the snow. I do wish it had slightly more storage space. As for price, I bought a base model with 4motion for approx $25k new and it had all I needed. The more equipped models are over priced. Paying $35k for one would just be silly.