Volkswagen announced today that it has built the first test body shell for its forthcoming midsize SUV. The vehicle, which will be assembled in Chattanooga, Tennessee, still has not officially been shown, but VW has long promised it will bring a seven-seat family crossover to the U.S.
The new crossover will start production later this year and goes on sale in 2017, Volkswagen said. It is most likely to resemble the CrossBlue concept we first saw in 2013 (pictured below). Volkswagen has released precious few other details thus far, though in 2014 Volkswagen of Americas’s Joerg Sommer said the SUV was an important part of the company’s strategy.
“It will be a true Volkswagen,” he told AUTOMOBILE. “High quality, emotional, design-focused, and with class-leading innovation. We’re looking mainly at the U.S. market.”
In addition to this larger three-row model, Volkswagen is also planning on introducing a larger, three-row version of the Euro-market Tiguan for our shores. It will be built at the same plant in Mexico that assembles the Golf hatchback.
While the announcement that initial testing of the Chattanooga body shop is a promising sign, we’re still waiting to hear more details about Volkswagen’s long-planned family SUV. If production begins by the end of this year, we’d expect to see the model shown publicly within the next few months.