While most automakers would prioritize the larger, more profitable vehicle, Schafer said it's important that there are enough Taos crossovers on dealership lots for consumers to find the vehicle as it is being marketed. The brand will also have to balance keeping its plants in Puebla and Chattanooga running if supplier shortages get worse.
"So far, we've built a couple, so it seems like we should at least get the Taos launch out of the way. But that decision obviously needs to be made when we realize how bad and how dire the situation becomes, what we need to get to Chattanooga for Atlas and [Atlas] Cross Sport," Schafer said.
When it does begin arriving in the fall — assuming there are sufficient microchips — the 2022 Tiguan will aim to more closely take on high-flying competitors such as the Toyota RAV4, the fourth-bestselling vehicle in the U.S., and the Honda CR-V, the fifth.
The freshened Tiguan will feature a standard 8-inch instrument cluster screen, with a 10-inch screen available on top trims; VW's improved MIB3 infotainment system on mid- and upper-level trims; and heated front seats. The automaker also installed haptic response controls on the steering wheel and new digital HVAC slider controls in the cabin, along with configurable LED mood lighting.
The brand's IQ.Drive driver-assistance suite — which offers automated emergency braking, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping, adaptive cruise control and other safety functions — comes standard on all but the base model.
The exterior features a restyled front fascia that highlights the brand's redesigned logo and an optional lighted accent strip across the grille. Each of the Tiguan's four trim levels will receive newly designed aluminum wheels, from 17 to 20 inches.
VW reported selling 27,265 Tiguans in the U.S. in the first quarter, up 23 percent from a year earlier. In 2020, the Tiguan was the only VW nameplate to crack 100,000 sales in the U.S., at 100,705, down 8.4 percent.