Volkswagen’s Future Includes Revamped Models, Hybrid and Electric Powertrains

With production for the made-in-America Jetta just around the corner, Volkswagen is starting to make its move toward doubling its United States sales within two years to 400,000 annual deliveries. Further, the automaker has a plan to sell some 1 million vehicles here by 2018. The following is what we hear the automaker will be up to in the next few years.

E-Up! – Volkswagen confirmed earlier this year it would bring an electrified member of its Up! family to the United States for 2013. However, we’re still unsure whether it will take the form of the two-door, the four-door, or the minivan variant.

Polo – VW’s popular sub-compact Polo hatchback may finally become available in the States. The sub-Golf-sized vehicle was once deemed too small for American tastes, but the recent introduction of the Ford Fiesta, among others, seems to have proven otherwise. If the tiny hatch does make it to U.S. soil, it could be produced alongside the new mid-size sedan in Tennessee.

Blue Sport Roadster – Earlier this year we reported that VW was in the development stages with its diesel-powered roadster. The same report suggested that the drop-top had been given the green light and was headed into production within the next few years. In concept form, the rear-wheel-drive roadster was powered by a 2.0-liter diesel engine that produced 180 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, thrusting it from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. Although the diesel may not make it to production, the outcome will still likely be a lightweight performance convertible.

Golf – We love the Golf, particularly in GTI trim. The current Golf debuted in 2009, and isn’t due for a major update until 2013. At that time, VW may also produce an electric Golf.

Jetta: VW took a different approach with its sixth-generation Jetta than past models, and developed the new model around American consumers’ tastes, as the U.S. is the Jetta’s largest global market. Reduced costs in the manufacturing process allowed VW to drop the Jetta’s price significantly to better compete with heavy hitters including the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Shortly after launch, the new Jetta will be available with five different powertrain choices, from an ultra-frugal 2.0-liter diesel, to a 2.0-liter, 200 horsepower I-4 that will make its way into the top-end GLI. Sometime next year, VW will offer a sixth, hybrid powertrain giving shoppers plenty to consider. The 2011 Jetta will hit dealer showrooms in October, with a starting price of $16,745 (including destination fees).

New Beetle – VW is readying a redesigned Beetle for the 2011 model year. With a completely reworked interior and exterior, the iconic car will become a more practical coupe. Growing in practically every aspect, the Beetle will be more accommodating for passengers and cargo alike. VW also hopes the next New Beetle will attract more male customers.

Eos – The Eos is one of Volkswagen’s least popular models here in the U.S., judging by recent sales figures, but the hard-top convertible will be refreshed for the 2011 model year. No details on the updated model have emerged at this time.

New Mid-Size Sedan – Although it doesn’t have a name, and we still have yet to see the car, VW’s new midsize sedan is scheduled to go on sale early next year. With a targeted starting price lower than $20,000, VW is setting its sights directly at others in the segment including the Ford Fusion and Honda Accord. The Tennessee-built sedan is reported to be larger than the CC and share a significant amount of its parts with the new Jetta.

CC – We hear the CC four-door will be updated for the 2011 model year, but no details have been announced yet.

Phaeton – The second-generation Phaeton will soon be available for Chinese and European customers, but its U.S. return is still likely a few years off. Should the Phaeton return, ours will cater specifically to American consumers, likely with a lower starting price. We don’t expect to see the Phaeton any earlier than the 2013 model year.

Routan – The Routan is not much more than a rebadged Chrysler Town & Country, and recent reports suggest the automaker may drop the minivan from its lineup. According to the automaker, however, the Routan isn’t going anywhere. With Chrysler’s recent Town & Country restyling, the Routan will likely see a slight update as well.

Touareg — The second-generation Touareg is set to go on sale later this year. The redesigned SUV will initially be available with one gasoline and one diesel engine, but a hybrid powertrain will become available early in 2011. VW touts the hybrid’s 40-percent improvement in fuel economy over its gasoline sibling.

Tiguan — VW’s entry-level SUV is nearing the end of its first-generation run, and is scheduled for a complete redesign for the 2012 model year. The SUV is rumored to gain a seven-seat variant with the redesign.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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