From a product standpoint, Volkswagen is transitioning from what had been a sedan-laden lineup to one filled with crossovers. In his COO role, de Nysschen will have a big responsibility to carry out that change.
While the redesigned Jetta continues to sell well — through September, Jetta sales were up 22 percent in the U.S. — the automaker amended a plan to redesign the aging and slower-selling Passat onto its global MQB platform in favor of a refresh to save money. It also ended production of the Golf SportWagen and culled its other Golf offerings to just the two higher-priced models, the Golf R and Golf GTI.
This month, Volkswagen revealed the five-seat Atlas Cross Sport here. The two-row version of its larger and older seven-seat Atlas crossover will compete directly with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Edge.
The Cross Sport, set to arrive in U.S. dealerships in the first quarter of 2020, fills a gap in Volkswagen's U.S. lineup left when the brand discontinued the Touareg after the 2017 model year. In 2021, the brand will expand into the subcompact crossover segment with an offering slotted below the current Tiguan, Keogh said.
"We also see a massive opportunity in the [subcompact crossover] segment. ... I think if you look at the Tiguan, in fairness, the first-generation Tiguan, we used to sell, I don't know, maybe we made it to 40,000 units? With this generation Tiguan, we'll get that car up around 100,000 units, this year," Keogh said. With mass-market crossovers accounting for 4 million sales through September, there is room for Volkswagen to expand with an offering below the Tiguan. "We're going to add a vehicle that will sit a little bit smaller, allow us to hit a price point, hit a package, hit a size."