Talk about a tease. Volkswagen chose not to unveil a new concept at its press reception this evening, but instead gave media in attendance a quick glimpse at this – a conceptual rendering of the CrossBlue crossover concept due to debut tomorrow at the 2013 North American International Auto Show.
We’ve long heard Volkswagen was eying a new crossover for its American portfolio to slot between the compact Tiguan and the large Touareg SUV. Rumors have run wild suggesting said vehicle could be Passat-based and perhaps even built alongside the American-spec Passat in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but the more firm rumor surfaced in November, when VW execs let slip it would preview its forthcoming vehicle in Detroit with a show car.
VW officials claim the CrossBlue, a three-row crossover, is merely a concept that “gauges customer reaction” to the design, but it’s hard to imagine Volkswagen isn’t already well on its way to launching a production version here in the U.S. Medium-large, three-row crossovers are as important in this market as midsize sedans, and given Volkswagen’s quest to increase its grasp of the North American automotive market, a vehicle like the CrossBlue would be just the ticket towards achieving those goals.
During the conference, Volkswagen chairman Dr. Martin Winterkorn says the CrossBlue was designed with American tastes in mind, and could/will be available with a range of powertrain options, including diesel and plug-in hybrid drivelines. Expect to learn – and see – more of the CrossBlue tomorrow, when Volkswagen formally takes the wraps off the concept on its show stand within Cobo Hall. Check back with Automobile Magazine for all the latest news surrounding VW’s concept, along with the 2013 North American International Auto Show.