LOS ANGELES -- What makes a Subaru a Subaru? Whatever it is, Volkswagen wants some.
Michael Horn, the CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, told reporters at the Los Angeles Auto Show that VW has decided to offer the Golf SportWagen with 4Motion all-wheel drive in the United States starting in 2016, both as a pure wagon and as a crossover-styled variant called the Alltrack.
“That’s what our dealers, our customers, are asking us for,” Horn said. “This will come in 2016,” he added, “when we need it to refresh our volumes.”
VW unveiled the Alltrack, scheduled to go on sale in Europe in 2015, at the Paris Motor Show this fall.
By introducing the Alltrack in the United States to compete with Subaru’s jacked-up XV Crosstrek, the German automaker hopes to seize on Americans’ affinity for small crossovers, boost its U.S. sales and make greater use of the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico that started building the Golf family this year.
Volkswagen plans to launch the fwd SportWagen in the United States in March or April. Horn said the company has started installing tooling to build the awd vehicles starting in 2016.
Horn also estimated that the SportWagen nameplate may comprise 50 percent of overall sales for the Golf family once VW finishes expanding its lineup. VW sold 22,534 units of the SportWagen in 2013 and 30,931 units of all Golf variants combined.
Subaru’s XV Crosstrek, which is based on the Impreza hatchback, has been a breakout U.S. hit for the Japanese brand since its introduction in 2012. Sales of the XV Crosstrek increased 39 percent through October to 59,675 units.