By on June 22, 2015

Volkswagen Crossblue Concept Parked In Front Of VW Chattanooga Tennessee Plant

Volkswagen USA CEO Michael Horn says the automaker expects “limited growth” until its new SUVs arrive, while one of its suppliers sets up shop in Tennessee.

Though parent company Volkswagen AG had once hoped for 800,000 units sold by 2018 in the United States, Horn downplayed the target’s importance, Reuters reports:

[The 2018 sales target] is still a relevant objective… but, on the other hand, if you just focus on one year and one number you would do crazy things, so the most important thing is to have a long-term strategy.

For now, Horn states VW will need to defend its position from now through 2017, when the redesigned Tiguan and the Chattanooga, Tenn.-built midsize SUV both hit the showroom floor. Other products, including a $20,000 compact SUV and a large pickup due in 2020 at the earliest, would soon follow.

As for the 2018 target, sales fell from 440,000 in 2012, to 367,000 last year, and have fallen 4 percent since; VW’s U.S. sales peak came in 1970 with 570,000 units. LMC Automotive says the new models in 2017 will help, but would only push sales to a projected 495,000 in 2018.

Meanwhile, Spanish automotive supplier Gestamp is setting up shop near the Chattanooga facility, where it and Volkswagen will unveil a new pressing plant Tuesday. The plant would create 500 jobs, and has been described by the automaker as a “major economic development.”

(Photo credit: Volkswagen)

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21 Comments on “Volkswagen Expects ‘Limited Growth’ In US Through 2017, Supplier Arrives In Tennessee...”


  • avatar
    Speed3

    If VW wants to hit 800K units in the US then they should consider having a full line of products to offer. Crossovers are a start, but HOW does it make sense to not sell vehicles that have already been developed for other markets. Specifically, why does VW not sell the Polo and upcoming Polo-based crossover? Seems like a missed opportunity.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Is the Polo really the vehicle the American people want? Maybe VW should start with a couple competitive CUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        Speed3

        No, but I said crossovers are a start. To specify, after VW introduces a mid-size crossover and redesigns the Tiguan, what is the lowest hanging fruit for VW?

        My point is that the Polo is already developed and sold in other markets – its also pretty competitive. If Ford and Chevy can sell 80K sub compacts a year, I don’t see why VW can’t aim for 50K. When you are only selling 350K a year that’s nothing to sneer at. In addition, the Polo-based crossover hasn’t been greenlit for the US. This seems like a no brainer.

        I would also add the Amarok to the list as well based on how successful the Chevy Colorado has been.

        End of the day, VW is not going to make it to 800K selling Golfs and decontented Passats.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          VW won’t hit the Ford/Chevy numbers because they don’t have the same amount of dealers, discounts, and fleet sales. I think they’d be closer to the Mazda2 (10K-15K a year). Ford is blowing out Fiesta SEs for under $15K. You can get an S for well under $13K. VW isn’t going to be able to compete with that.

          I do completely agree with you about the Polo based CUV. That should be sold here before anywhere else. Get it here yesterday.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Look at past performance, even limited “growth” is optimistic.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    This has got to be so depressing to American VW employees. As they’re of my own kind, I’m truly sorry that VW is the sick man of Germany.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’d be surprised if they hit the 495k number in 2018.

    That would be 7.7% annual growth from 2014-8. I’m not seeing it, particularly because the industry isn’t growing that fast, which then means VW would have to take market share from someone else. Their competitors are strong and agile.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Nice enough looking SUV, but that clear glass on all the windows – yuck! Why are some manufacturers so averse at making privacy glass standard on their SUV’s? Every time I see a BMW X3 or X5 with clear windows I cringe…

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      Roberto, some of us want clear glass in the windows so we can see out, even in the dark and rain. Let us be able to see out, the rest of you can always buy the tint.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Yes! These are some of the few vehicles that still permit you to see out of them! I’m not going to impede that with an extra-cost option, for cat’s sake!

        *whew* I got all emotional there.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Guys, the type of factory dark tinting I refer to (see current Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes ML, Toyota Highlander/4Runner, Dodge Durango, etc.) does not impede your vision whatsoever.

      • 0 avatar
        turf3

        Yes, it does. If it impedes the transmission of light through the windows, it makes it harder to see things. Maybe it only matters in low-light, low contrast conditions, with objects that are very similar in coloration to their surroundings. But anything that reduces the amount of light coming through the window, by that fact alone, will in fact make some things more difficult to see. As someone who has to drive in all kinds of weather and light conditions, and whose evening/nighttime vision is already somewhat compromised by the excessive light output of current headlights, I think I should be permitted to decide whether I want darkened windows or not. I don’t care if tints on rear windows are an option, but they should not be standard.

        Finally, if “privacy” tinting does not impede vision, why is it forbidden on windshields?

  • avatar
    tedward

    It looks like vw finally has a real timeline with real numbers for the us. Seriously, that is the main difference here. They are going to have three suv’s, a lifted awd wagon, a truck, and by then the jetta and passat will be scheduled to move onto the mqb chassis. That sounds suspiciously like good sense, and without the ridiculous target sales goal they might actually hold onto a management team for more than two years.

    Honestly I think the product mix sounds right, and they’ll have some serious capabilities in place (awd in both factories, mqb in both factories, NAFTA engine plant, etc) but it goes nowhere without vw credit being willing to give away leases on all off those vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      If the lease deals are anything like the ones they’re offering now they should be fine. Check out the advertised prices for VW leases nowadays – they’ve come down MASSIVELY in the past year or so, I think. Not that I monitor them religiously but I’ve noticed low lease prices before that article on here referencing bargain Jetta lease prices and I’ve been paying some more attention since seeing that article.

  • avatar

    A fullsize pickup to complement the Phaeton IIIrd Time’s The Charm.


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