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by Tim Beissmann

Volkswagen’s design boss says the German manufacturer is developing a compact SUV to sit below the Tiguan in its global line-up.

Volkswagen Group design director Walter de’Silva told Automotive News Europe the brand was aiming to expand its SUV range with crossovers of different sizes and designs to appeal to a broad audience.

“Crossover demand is expanding from mature markets to emerging markets and we have to cover this growing appetite with a multilateral expansion in the offer of our brands,” de’Silva said.

Volkswagen does not have a competitor in Europe’s crossover/small SUV segment. It was the fastest-growing category in the first half of 2011 – accounting for more than 110,000 sales – and is dominated by the Dacia Duster.

The new sub-compact crossover would sit beneath Volkswagen’s two existing SUVs – the compact Tiguan and the mid-sized luxury Touareg – although de’Silva gave no indication of when it was likely to reach production.

The Volkswagen Cross Coupe concept that was unveiled at last week’s Tokyo motor show previews some of the design elements that will feature on the upcoming small SUV. Volkswagen has confirmed the Cross Coupe’s dramatic front-end styling – with its wide grille and integrated xenon/LED headlights – will become the new face of its future SUVs.

While de’Silva says the next Tiguan – due approximately 2013/2014 – will retain more traditional proportions seen on the current-generation car, he said Volkswagen would consider the concept’s high-riding hatchback design for the upcoming sub-compact model.




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