VW plans more SUVs (and possibly a pickup) for America

Crossovers and SUVs represent 52 percent of its American sales

Volkswagen remains committed to filling gaps in its lineup of crossovers and SUVs. High-riding models make up 52 percent of its American sales in 2019, up from 14 percent in 2016, and that figure is expected to continue growing as new nameplates join the range in the coming years.

The ID.4 the German firm discreetly introduced as a prototype during the 2019 Frankfurt auto show will make its public debut in February 2020. Volkswagen will step out of the auto show circuit, Motor Trend reported, and unveil the model at a standalone event. It will offer many of the same forward-thinking technologies packed into the ID.3, but they'll be wrapped in a more spacious package better aligned with the tastes of American motorists. The magazine learned the 4 will also benefit from more power and additional range. To add context, the ID.3 delivers up to 342 miles of range on the fabulously optimistic WLTP testing cycle when it's fitted with the bigger, 77-kWh battery pack, and it's powered by a lone, 201-horsepower electric motor mounted over the rear axle.

The ID.3 will not be sold in the United States, so the ID.4 will spearhead Volkswagen's electric car offensive on our shores. Production will initially take place in Zwickau, Germany, but the plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., that makes both Atlas variants and the American-spec Passat will begin churning out the model in 2022 after receiving an $800 million upgrade.

The pickup topic has swirled around Volkswagen's American division since it introduced the Atlas Tanoak concept (pictured) at the 2018 New York Auto Show. The firm sells a body-on-frame, Ford Ranger-sized truck named Amarok in many global markets, including its home country of Germany, but there are no plans to offer it in America. The Atlas Tanoak shared almost nothing with the Amarok. It was — as its name implied — based on Volkswagen's Atlas SUV, so it rode on a unibody platform.

Volkswagen of America boss Scott Keogh told Motor Trend the on-again, off-again pickup is still in the planning stages, and it hasn't received the green light for production yet. His team is putting together a proposal it plans to submit to the carmaker's top brass for evaluation. He made no mention of whether it would be a toned down version of the Atlas Tanoak concept, or the often-rumored Ranger-based truck born from Volkswagen's burgeoning alliance with Ford.

While the Atlas is a relatively new entrant in its segment, Volkswagen has already started working on the next-generation model. Keogh explained product planners are still debating whether to electrify it, and to what degree. Transforming it into an electric car would make it too expensive and too heavy, according to Motor Trend, but a plug-in hybrid drivetrain might represent a good compromise.

Nothing is set in stone yet, and the next Atlas is several years away, so the company can afford to take its time as it makes a decision. For the time being, Volkswagen will focus on expanding its American range of crossovers and SUVs with the five-seater Atlas Cross Sport unveiled in October 2019, and with an entry-level, sub-Tiguan model scheduled to arrive showrooms in 2021.

Volkswagen Atlas Information

Volkswagen Atlas

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