New SUV beginning to take shape

It’s not exactly as monumental as the launch of a new model, but Volkswagen did have something to be proud of with the completion of the first assembled metal test body for its upcoming midsize SUV. It’s far from a sexy milestone, but it could definitely lead to something akin to that if VW’s plan to push the production of the model goes on as scheduled.

But before champagnes start popping on that end, there is that matter of having the metal body undergo a series of tests to determine the calibration of body shop equipment and processes. Once those steps are completed, the body will then undergo more testing and development. Understandably, the photo of the test body doesn’t reveal anything other than the fact that it’s made out of metal. Jokes aside, the body will be able to accommodate as many as three rows and is tipped to use a stretched version of the automaker’s MQB platform.

There’s been no announcement on what the model will be named or what it will look like, but all signs seem to point to a model that will draw heavily from the CrossBlue concept that was unveiled back in 2013. Prototypes of the SUV have been seen making the testing rounds as recently as April 2016 so if anything, all these happenings appear to indicate that we’re closer than we’ve ever been to seeing a mid-sized VW SUV hit the market since rumors first popped up in 2014. If Volkswagen sticks to its schedule, production of the SUV could begin in late 2016 with an eye towards a 2017 debut.

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Why it matters

For those who have been following Volkswagen’s plan to expand its SUV lineup, the completion of this metal test body is a significant step towards seeing the plan come to fruition. It’s been established that the German automaker intends to drop a huge number of SUVs in the coming years to better compete in the growing market.

The redesigned Tiguan, which was designed to come with two different wheelbase lengths, represented the first of Volkswagen’s new wave of SUVs. In addition to the yet-to-be-named midsize SUV, Volskwagen’s SUV lineup will be filled up by a redesigned Touareg, a flagship SUV that was recently previewed by the recently unveiled T-Prime Concept GTE, and two more models that will sit below the aforementioned Tiguan. Recent SUV concepts like the T-Roc and T-Cross Breeze have been linked as preview pieces of these models.

It’s a bold plan that could lead to as many as six different SUVs for Volkswagen. That may seem like one-too many, but considering the company’s plan of flooding all the major markets with SUVs, it’s the kind of plan that can only be pulled off by a company that has vast resources and a powerful machinery. You know, like Volkswagen.

Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept

2014 Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept here.

Press Release

Volkswagen Chattanooga has reached an early production milestone with the completion of the first assembled metal test body for the upcoming Midsize SUV.

The production of the first assembled metal test body is an early step towards the full production of the Chattanooga-made Midsize SUV, scheduled to begin production late this year and hit the market in 2017. The first test body build is for the purposes of checking the calibration of body shop equipment and processes. The body is then passed on for further testing and development.

This milestone was commemorated with a group photograph that included management and body shop team members who contributed to its production.

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