It is common for automakers from Europe, the U.S. and other parts of Asia to have cars specific to China’s fast-growing market. What’s not common, however, is for those cars to make it over to America. But that’s what Volkswagen is doing to satisfy our endless craving for crossovers soon, and when it debuts it’ll be Volkswagen’s first vehicle designed in China for the Chinese market to make its way to America.
VW calls it the “Volks-SUV” in-house, though it won’t have that name and will actually be a compact crossover, Autoblog reports. The new model will slot beneath the Tiguan and will be built on the MQB platform used on everything from the Audi TT to the Volkswagen Atlas.
Production is slated to start in China, with vehicles hitting the Chinese marketplace by 2020. Originally the car was going to be only for the Chinese market but someone slapped some sense into VW, probably with a large stack of crossover and SUV sales figures from its competitors. Russia, Argentina and Mexico will also get the unnamed crossover, with vehicles for Americans coming up from Mexico. VW is already predicting 400,000 in sales each year for the unnamed vehicle.
We’re so used to the same old “oh, Europe is getting this cool car and we’re not” song that it’s pretty exciting to have one up on the Old World. Too bad it’s just another money-printing crossover, and not for something truly badass, like an Audi RS6 Avant.
Anyway, look at this as a sign of things to come. Americans getting a car originally meant for China isn’t just a first for VW, but an extremely rare move for the American marketplace. Yet as Chinese production increases, that’s destined to change. Americans used to be the tastemakers, but things are changing rapidly. And VW has already had to adjust to Chinese consumers’ needs—Automotive News Europe reports Volkswagen loaded the Chinese Touareg up with a glitzy chrome grille to satisfy image-conscious Chinese buyers. The company still hasn’t really figured out what Americans want though, despite being in the American market for decades.
It seems like Volkswagen is betting that American and Chinese car buyers are not so different after all, and it’s not likely be the last car company to make that bet.