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Future models - Volkswagen - CrossBlue

Volkswagen previews Evoque rival

Future proofing: The CrossBlue concept is in a larger class, but still hints at a sportier Volkswagen Tiguan derivative.

The inside word on Volkswagen's Evoque rival, plus its wider SUV plans

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Volkswagen logo19 Apr 2013

UPDATED
20/04/2013 VOLKSWAGEN has plans to develop a low-slung sports crossover rival to the hot-selling Range Rover Evoque – possibly as soon as 2015 – and GoAuto has the inside line from company board member Ulrich Hackenberg.

Should such a production model appear, it will be spun off the next-generation Tiguan compact SUV due in 2014, and based on the same flexible platform that underpins the new Golf and Audi A3.

Stylistically, the model is expected to take cues from the Cross Coupe plug-in hybrid concept premiered at the Tokyo motor show in late 2011. At the time, VW said the Cross Coupe hinted not only at the design of the next Tiguan, but its entire future SUV fleet.

Volkswagen pulled the covers from a lurid orange concept in Shanghai last week called CrossBlue, and while this version is substantially larger than an Evoque, clearly provides styling clues.

In an interview this week, Dr Hackenberg – as the man responsible for overseeing future global product – told us the company was keen to make an SUV designed “more for emotion and less for function”.

“We presented (Cross Coupe) to make a preview to a Tiguan, but the reaction of the media and customers from the clinic was quite positive, so we could imagine that might be a derivative,” he said.

Dr Hackenberg said any production car would be conceptually similar to fare from more premium brands, with the Evoque and BMW’s 3 Series GT named as potential rivals.

“Actually there are not so many competitors, but if you look to the Evoque, it’s quite a sporty SUV, quite successful. It has a more sporty shape, not so functional as a Tiguan but very successful anyway.

“If you look at the customers, the Tiguan customers are very function-oriented, they like to sit high, they like to use the car for big luggage and maybe carry sporting goods (for example).

“But maybe there is another cluster of customers that is not so function-oriented. There are lots of cars now coming that are a coupe and an SUV look to BMW or others. So there might be a segment which is looking more for emotion and less for function.” Despite citing luxury brands as key targets, Dr Hackenberg said the project would wear a Volkswagen badge if produced, with an Audi version seemingly less likely or at least at an earlier stage of development.

The potential new model is expected to form one cog in Volkswagen’s wider SUV plans, with development of a micro-SUV – previewed by the Taigun in South America last year – and a seven-seater for the US and China, also under way.

Confusingly, Volkswagen previewed this seven-seat SUV with a concept also called the CrossBlue at the Detroit motor show in January. It appears the latest orange concept of the same name is a derivation of the original.

However, Dr Hackenberg appeared less keen on seeing the development of a rugged SUV version of the Amarok.

Volkswagen Commercials including Amarok and any potential derivatives are not his direct responsibility, but when asked for his opinion, he said that the Amarok’s production bases in Argentina and Germany may be too far from strong sales hubs in South-East Asia to keep costs down.

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