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Detroit show: VW set to reveal new SUV

Design concept: This leaked VW illustration previews the new SUV that will be unveiled at the Detroit auto show.

Seven-seater Volkswagen SUV tipped to debut at Detroit motor show this week

Volkswagen logo14 Jan 2013

VOLKSWAGEN is set to reveal its long-rumoured seven-seat SUV at the Detroit motor show this week in concept form, at least two years ahead of its expected production debut.

Overseas reports indicate that the new SUV – which will finally provide the ambitious brand with much-needed seven-seat capability – will be based on the US-market Passat sedan platform and built at the same plant in Tennessee.

This will make it closer in concept to Nissan’s fourth-generation Pathfinder – which will debut here late this year with its new unibody design – than more rugged ute-based vehicles built with separate chassis, such as Holden’s new Colorado 7 and Ford’s forthcoming locally engineered Ranger-based vehicle.

A design illustration of the seven-seat Volkswagen was leaked onto the internet by British magazine Autocar ahead of this week’s presentation of the vehicle in concept form at the North American International Auto Show.

Volkswagen had contemplated producing a seven-seater based on its Amarok workhorse ute, but chose instead to go with a unibody-style SUV that would slot into its line-up alongside its existing SUV offerings, the Golf-based Tiguan (which sells here from $28,490) and the Audi Q7-based Touareg (from $62,990), both of which seat only five.

As GoAuto reported in September, Volkswagen Group Australia is keen to get the seven-seat SUV into the Australian market, where the seven-seat Toyota Prado was the top-selling SUV in 2012 with 17,045 sales, beating the smaller Nissan X-Trail (16,066) and Mazda CX-5 (15,861), and the big Falcon-based Ford Territory (14,646).

VGA managing director Anke Koeckler told us that such a vehicle would be important for Volkswagen’s key growth markets of North America, China and Russia, but that the Australian division would be “waving our hands” to secure it for this market.

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