As we took in the styling of the Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE revealed at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we realized that it wasn’t much of a concept, but rather a crossover that was close to being ready for production. The SUV previews a new design language to span the Volkswagen lineup, and Volkswagen went even further to suggest 2016 as the production year for the badly-needed void in the company’s product portfolio in both North America, and elsewhere around the world.
“Elsewhere around the world?”, you might ask. Yes, elsewhere around the world. Australian Motoring.com.au caught wind during the Detroit show that the SUV may indeed reach Aussie shores as well. The vehicle is certainly suitable for right-hand drive adaptations thanks to Volkswagen’s incredibly-versatile MQB vehicle architecture upon which the production versions of the Cross Coupe GTE Concept and CrossBlue Concept will ride on.
According to Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Member of the Board of Management at Volkswagen passenger cars with responsibility for “Development”, a decision on export production to Australia won’t be decided before the end of 2015. But right-hand-drive is indeed possible using VW’s existing platform tool kit, claims Klaus Bischoff, head of VW design. So it would seem that whether the production version of the Cross Coupe GTE will be heading Down Under or not is perhaps a question of when rather than if. To note, it’s expected (but not confirmed) that Volkswagen will build the production versions of the CrossCoupe GTE and the CrossBlue crossovers at its U.S. plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Besides word of the SUV reaching Australia, Volkswagen also announced over $7 billion USD in investment to take place over the next five years towards new vehicles, such as SUVs and crossovers, at its North American facilities. In addition, the company announced that it will reduce the vehicle lifecycle from five years to three for facelifts and refreshes, while generational overhauls will now take place every five years, instead of seven. The decisions go on to demonstrate just how fierce competition has become and how badly Volkswagen wants a larger piece of the mainstream auto market in North America.