Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Volkswagen To Show Five-Seat Atlas Concept In New York

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The newest Atlas, which will be designed and engineered for the US market, will be shown in concept form at the New York Auto Show.

The five-seat Atlas is based on the same MQB platform as its seven-passenger sibling, although it's several inches shorter than the bigger Atlas.

VW said it would reveal the model's name in NY.

The move comes after President Donald Trump earlier this month imposed steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, a move that drew sharp criticism from U.S. trading partners and prompted European Union officials to threaten to retaliate against some USA goods. This new five-seater will likely begin being produced next year, and it's the third vehicle to be manufactured at the Chattanooga plant, which is VW's only assembly plant in the United States. Don't expect anything wild; this concept will closely signal what the finalized version will look like, but will have some typical non-production window dressing.

VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said in an email that the move "is not a reaction to the proposed tariffs".

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A shorter, five-passenger Atlas would compete against models like the Ford Edge, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Nissan Murano instead of the three-row version's Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, and Ford Explorer rivals. Volkswagen Chattanooga also manufactures the Passat, which went on sale in 2011, and the Atlas, which started sales in 2017.

A concept version of the new model will be shown at the NY auto show later this month, and Volkswagen has released an illustration of that vehicle (see above).

"The Atlas has built strong momentum for Volkswagen in the SUV segment, and we are excited to grow our SUV portfolio with this new, Chattanooga-assembled five-passenger SUV", said Hinrich Woebcken, CEO of VW's North American region.

According to a person briefed on details, the company will invest $340 million to bring the vehicle to market.

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