Volkswagen Presents CrossBlue Concept Midsize SUV +VIDEO

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By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel

DETROIT - January 14, 2013: In the past year, the Volkswagen Group has done very well on the North American market with a total of nearly 600,000 sold vehicles (+34.2 percent compared with the preceding year). The new Passat has been adding to this success with more than 117,000 units. However, to be able to achieve the goal of selling 1 million cars by 2018, the Germans realize that the VW line up has to be expanded. A logical step seemed to be to develop a midsize SUV. With such a model, the brand will not only offer models in four of the five most important segments in the US, but also in the fastest growing segment.

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This morning, at The North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Volkswagen unveiled a concept for such a model, de CrossBlue. It is a specifically for the North- American market developed seven-seater, equipped with an innovative diesel-electric plug-in-hybrid power train that produces 305 hp and 516 pound feet of torque, allowing the CrossBlue to accelerate to 60 mph in an estimated time of 7.2 seconds. The heart of the system is a 3.0-liter TDI clean diesel engine that is combined with two electric motors, dual-clutch automatic transmission and an electric all-wheel drive system. Energy comes from a 9.8 kWh lithium-ion battery, and when this is fully charged the CrossBlue can be driven for up to 14 miles in all-electirc mode. To achieve the optimal driving range, the top speed is reduced from 127 mph to 75 mph. Volkswagen estimates fuel economy to be 89 mpge combined in electric mode and 35 mpg as a hybrid. The CrossBlue runs in zero emissions mode either at the press of a button or automatically. The overall driving range is 661 miles if the 18.5-gallon fuel tank is filled with ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel.

Watch the complete VW Press Conference

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The CrossBlue Concept is equipped with six individual seats, but the production version will have the option to have a third row that seats three, to make it a seven-seater. The Concept was designed under supervision of Volkswagen Group’s design chief Walter de Silva and Volkswagen brand head of design Klaus Bischoff. The goal has been to come up with the Volkswagen DNA combined with a masculine look. Volkswagen says that the show car gives a glimpse of a potential production SUV, that with a length of 196.2 inches, a width of 79.3 in. and a height of 68.2 in., it should have the right size for the US market. The bold looks are enhanced by 21-inch aluminum alloy wheels with 235/45 rubber and stainless-steel trim all around the lower body section. It speaks for itself that the interior is up to concept cars standards. Meaning it is beautifully executed with two-tone leather and wood accents. The suv which basically is a crossover, fills in the gap between the Tiguan and the Touareg.

When I asked Jonathan Browning, President and CEO Volkswagen Group of America, if the CrossBlue will go into production, will it be in VW’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee? “It could be,” mr. Browning said, “but what we we want is to build it in the North-American region, which means it could also be Mexico, or even a complete new locations. The’if’ and ‘where’ is going to be decided in the course of this year.”

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