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U.S. model is VW's big news

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U.S. model is VW's big news

Diana T. Kurylko

Automotive News -- September 20, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

An ambitious plan to increase Volkswagen brand sales in the United States to 800,000 by 2018 -- up from 213,454 last year -- begins with a mid-sized sedan to be built starting early next year in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Later, the new factory will add the Polo small car or a mid-sized SUV -- possibly both.

Here is a rundown of VW's product plans through 2013.

E-Up!: An electric-powered version of the Up! minicar will be sold in the United States in 2013. The Up! family -- which consists of a hatchback, minivan and sedan -- goes on sale in Europe in 2011. The U.S.-bound electric version is expected to be the minivan.

Polo: VW is considering selling its Ford Fiesta-sized European car in the United States. It may be built in VW's new Tennessee factory.

Golf: The compact hatchback will be freshened in 2013. At the same time, the high-performance GTI version will be freshened. A hybrid may be added that same year.

New Beetle: The small car, built in Puebla, Mexico, will be restyled and re-engineered next year. VW is addressing its shortcomings, such as limited interior room. A convertible will debut in 2012, and a hybrid is likely.

The redesigned Jetta has a lower price that puts it in competition with the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

Jetta: A redesigned version of the Mexico-built sedan goes on sale this fall. VW has made the Jetta bigger and lowered the price so it competes directly with the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. A hybrid is expected in 2012.

BlueSport: The midengine roadster, shown as a concept at the 2009 Detroit auto show, will share a platform with Porsche. Production could start as early as 2011 for Europe. No decision has been made on whether to offer the BlueSport in the United States.

The BlueSport will have a dual-clutch transmission. To reduce weight, the body will use aluminum and other lightweight materials.

Mid-sized sedan: Sales of the Chattanooga-built four-door sedan will begin in the spring at a starting price of about $20,000. VW wants the new mid-sized sedan to compete with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. The front-drive car will be larger than the CC and Passat sedans and will share 30 to 40 percent of its parts with the redesigned Jetta.

CC: The coupe-styled four-door sedan based on the Passat will be freshened in 2011.

Passat: The Passat has been dropped in the United States because, VW executives say, the German import is smaller, yet more expensive, than the new mid-sized sedan.

Phaeton: The new-generation Phaeton, which shares a platform with the Bentley Continental GT coupe and Flying Spur sedan, debuts this year in Europe and China. VW executives promise a return of a premium sedan to the United States, though at a considerably lower price than the $65,000-plus vehicle that was yanked off the market in 2006.

Eos: The hardtop convertible will be freshened in 2011.

Mid-sized crossover: VW is considering a new crossover that would be assembled in Tennessee.

Tiguan: The compact crossover will be redesigned in 2012. A longer, seven-seat version may be added.

Touareg: The redesigned SUV goes on sale in November with both V-6 gasoline and diesel engines. The 3.0-liter V-6 gasoline hybrid goes on sale at year end. VW says the hybrid's fuel economy is about 40 percent better than that of the gasoline SUV. The Touareg continues to share its platform with the Porsche Cayenne.

Routan: The 2-year-old minivan will be freshened late this year. The Routan is a rebadged Chrysler Town & Country -- only the body panels and interior trim are different -- and is assembled by Chrysler Group.

The changes likely will mimic those of the Town & Country, which is getting a new Pentastar V-6 engine and a new front end to comply with European pedestrian safety requirements. The interior also will be altered.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100920/OEM04/309209990/1294#ixzz106Av7j1w

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