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Seven seats for next Volkswagen Tiguan

The family way: Volkswagen said the extra seating row will improve sales in America and a Mexican plant would lower production costs.

Australia to get new VW Tiguan in 2017 but no decision yet on three-row model

10 Mar 2015

VOLKSWAGEN has confirmed it will build a seven-seat version of its next-generation Tiguan compact SUV that is due in Australia in 2017.

In a statement, Volkswagen de Mexico said production will start at the end of 2016 in the Mexican factory at Puebla and will employ 2000 people for a planned production of 500 vehicles a day.

Volkswagen will spend more than $US1 billion ($A1.3bn) to expand and modernise the factory. It also builds the Golf, Beetle and Jetta in Puebla, the latter two models for the Australian market.

The seven-seat Tiguan is rumoured to be one of three planned variants, joining a standard wheelbase model for Europe and a possible sports-coupe model.

For the first time, the Tiguan will use the MQB platform shared with the Golf and Audi A3. The seven-seat model will have a stretched platform to allow for the vehicle’s near-5 metre length.

The 2017 European-spec Tiguan, with five seats, is expected to debut at this year’s Frankfurt motor show in September.

Volkswagen Group Australia could not confirm if the seven-seat Tiguan will be sold in Australia.

While Australia imports the Beetle and Jetta from Mexico, no decision has been made on where the next Australian-market Tiguan will be built. The current model is built in Germany.

The long-wheelbase Tiguan is designed to suit the American market where the current model is not selling to expectations. It is regarded as too small and expensive against the more popular Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V rivals.

Volkswagen Group of America president and CEO Michael Horn said building the Tiguan close to the United States and Canadian markets would safeguard the company’s competitive position.

“It is another proof point Volkswagen is committed to further growth in the US and North American markets,” he said.

“With production of the Golf A7 and the Tiguan now moved to Puebla, we will build approximately 90 per cent of our products in the NAFTA region.” Mr Horn said the Mexican-built Tiguan would be supplied to North and South America as well as other world markets, excluding the European Union and China. This indicates that Australia may continue to get the standard-wheelbase Tiguan from Germany.

On the Australian market, the Tiguan is the fifth biggest seller in its small-SUV class that is dominated by the Hyundai ix35 and Subaru XV.

VW has sold 1152 examples this year to the end of February, up 29.9 per cent on the same period last year.

Volkswagen sold 6604 Tiguans in 2014, again ranking it fifth in class.

It sells in a band of $28,990 to $44,990, plus on-road costs, with its entry-level front-drive model priced $2000 above the equivalent Hyundai ix35.

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