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by Alex Gibson

Volkswagen is reportedly close to confirming the production location of its first seven-seat SUV, to be built at one of two plants in North America.

Once officially confirmed for production, the SUV will be built at either the car maker’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant – where Volkswagen also makes the US-spec Passat – or at an older plant in Puebla, Mexico. It’s unclear at this stage if the new model will be produced exclusively in left-hand drive, with the US and China its primary markets, or also be built in right-hand drive for regions like Australia and the UK.

Chattanooga Operations CEO Frank Fischer revealed that no matter where the SUV was built, it would make use of the firm’s MQB platform. The highly flexible platform currently underpins the Golf and Audi A3 small cars, among others.

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The model was previewed by the CrossBlue concept at Detroit last January. That concept, a five-metre-long, two-metre-wide seven-seater was only slightly larger than the existing Touareg SUV, but owing to its different design and architecture was able to fit an extra row of seats. Despite its larger size, the CrossBlue is expected to be pitched beneath the Touareg in Volkswagen’s range but above the smaller Tiguan.

No indications have been made of when the SUV will be launched, however previous reports indicated a mid-decade release is likely.




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