After a large presence at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, Volkswagen is now making claims about its future in the U.S. The brand’s executive vice president for group quality Mark Trahan recently stated that Volkswagen will abandon naturally-aspirated powertrains within the next few years in favor of a lineup of all turbocharged engines, according to a report from the Detroit News. A Bloomberg report also quoted Trahan as saying that Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant could build an upcoming small SUV as soon as 2016.
Volkswagen only has a few naturally aspirated engines left in its U.S. lineup: the 2.5-liter five-cylinder found in the Passat, Beetle, Golf, and Jetta SportWagen; the 3.6-liter V-6 found in the Passat, Touareg, and CC; and the 2.0-liter four-cylinder found in the base S model of the Jetta. The five-cylinder powertrain is already in the process of being phased out in favor of the new 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that is already offered in the Jetta and Passat, and will soon featured in the Beetle and Golf. There is no word yet on a larger turbocharged engine that could replace the V-6.
Volkswagen will no longer sell naturally aspirated engines in "three, four years maximum," Trahan told The Detroit News.
In terms of the small SUV, Volkswagen will reportedly be deciding by the end of the year where to build its small SUV which will debut by 2016. The Chattanooga plant, which began production in 2011 and currently builds the Passat, is the leading candidate, according to Trahan.
“We’ve made a significant investment in Chattanooga and it’s one that we want to have its full potential realized,” Trahan told Bloomberg. This small SUV could either be a replacement for the Tiguan or slot in below the Tiguan in the VW lineup. Volkswagen’s Crossblue Coupe concept from earlier this year could be an indication of what this vehicle might look like. As we have reported before, the upcoming CrossBlue seven-seat crossover is also a possibility for the Chattanooga plant.