Horn told AUTOMOBILE at the 2014 Los Angeles auto show that the Jetta SportWagen has an extremely loyal fan base, and that he thinks adding all-wheel-drive to the new Golf SportWagen (based on the seventh-generation, 2015 Volkswagen Golf hatchback) will give the SportWagen a unique appeal. He thinks many crossover buyers could be swayed to tried a Volkswagen wagon instead, because there are few all-wheel-drive wagons in the car’s price range (Horn dismisses Subaru when we note the Japanese brand sells all-wheel-drive wagons here). It was previously unclear whether the earlier Golf SportWagen’s 4Motion would actually reach production in the U.S.; Volkswagen plans to add 4Motion capabilities at its Puebla, Mexico, plant before the SportWagen launches.
Horn, along with Volkswagen board member for development Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, also revealed some timing details on other future Volkswagen models. By 2017 or 2018, the Volkswagen Jetta and Passat sedans will both have switched to the new MQB architecture used for the 2015 Golf (as well as the Audi A3 and others). The next-gen Volkswagen Beetle will also switch to MQB construction, but Neusser hints the car’s days are numbered: “It will be one of the final ones.”
“The Tiguan for the U.S. is a little bit larger than the one for Europe,” Neusser says, but he won’t be drawn on whether there are any other differences between the two versions. “If we tell you know exactly everything, then we have nothing to tell when we bring the new car to market.”
“We first need to make the final decision to produce it, and when we will produce it, I think each market will be interested to have it,” Neusser says. “There is really a broad fan base in the customers worldwide that wants to have the most powerful Golf which we can produce. Since the emotional factor in such a car has an image improvement, we are also interested to have it in each market.”
There’s also no firm answer as to whether the next iteration of the high-end Volkswagen Phaeton luxury sedan will return to America.
“We would love to have the car and we’re working on it,” says Horn, but the, “Final decision hasn’t been made.”
“[The Phaeton] is not so interesting from the sales number side, but it’s important and interesting from the image side, because the Phaeton is the highest image and highest quality car which we have in the brand,” Neusser adds. “For that also it’s important to look for the U.S. market.”