VW investigates large 4x4

* Large, cheap 4x4 for US buyers * Maybe suitable for China, not UK * Touareg considered niche product...

VW investigates large 4x4

Volkswagen is considering building a new, large 4x4.

The car is being earmarked for the United States and for other territories, such as China where a relatively low-cost, practical 4x4 would appeal. However, it's unlikely to make it to the UK.

The launch of the car would be consistent with VW's approach of building cheaper, less-sophisticated cars for the US market.

Its best-selling car in the US, the VW Jetta, has a simpler suspension system than the Jetta sold in Europe, while the American version of the VW Passat, launched at the Detroit motor show this week, is also extensively re-engineered for the US market.

Although VW's current large 4x4, the Touareg, is sold in the US, it is regarded as a niche product for the brand because of its relatively high cost compared with locally built rivals.

The likelihood is the new 4x4 would be built in the US at VW's new factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The factory is due to begin full production of the American Passat later this year, but company bosses admit the plant has the potential capacity to build up to three different models.

Meanwhile, VW's small 4x4, the Tiguan, sells reasonably well in the US and has been targeted as a key model in the firm's ambitious plans to more than double sales in the country by 2018.