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Volkswagen planning ID.3-based small electric SUV spinoff


Volkswagen will introduce a small electric SUV to slot in under the mid-sized ID.4, which may potentially be called the ID.3 X.

Volkswagen Passenger Cars CEO and Volkswagen AG board member Thomas Schäfer said the brand is “looking into creating a compact SUV based on the ID.3″ on his LinkedIn.

It’s due before 2026, and will feature dramatically different styling to the ID.3 – in much the same way the similarly sized Golf and T-Roc differ from each other. This is according to an interview he gave to Autocar.

An electric small SUV would give the brand a rival to the likes of the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Niro EV, plus the BYD Atto 3.

While Volkswagen will introduce a new electric vehicle architecture later this decade, its existing MEB underpinnings – used in the ID.3 and ID.4, among others – will receive further updates in terms of range, performance and features.

The ID.3 X name hasn’t been locked in, but Autocar reports Volkswagen is looking to simplify its naming structure as its EV line-up continues to expand.

The X suffix could be used for all SUV models moving forward, while Volkswagen is also weighing how to balance its existing, well-known combustion-engine vehicle names and its new ID names.

“The Golf name specifically has huge value. But at the same time, the ID brand has gained huge momentum. The recognition it receives at [customer] clinics, people absolutely understand what we are talking about,” said Mr Schäfer.

“So to change the name to something completely different doesn’t make sense.

“We are really working out now for the next ten years how we see the names developing. This is happening right now, this process of what we do with the name – Golf, Polo or whatever – what do we do to transform key names differently.”

The upcoming small crossover’s hatchback counterpart – the ID.3, which debuted in 2019 – will also receive an update in 2023, earlier than had been planned. This is the version confirmed to come to Australia.

“We’ve listened very carefully to the ID.3 community, and we’re bringing forward the facelift of our first MEB [platform] model to 2023,” he said.

“The new Volkswagen ID 3 is taking a significant and noticeable leap forward in terms of quality, materials and system stability.”

The remark about system stability appears to be a nod to the well-publicised software issues that plagued the ID.3. Indeed, Volkswagen’s Cariad software division continues to struggle, and has been responsible for the delays of upcoming products like the Porsche Macan EV.

The ID.3 could also gain push-button steering wheel controls, with Mr Schäfer announcing this week Volkswagen was dropping its controversial touch-capacitive steering controls.

The decision came from a recently established Customer Focus Board Committee.

Still planned to slot in under the ID.3 and ID.3 X are a pair of affordable EVs set to open at around £20,000 (A$35,847). Development of these is being led by Seat and Cupra.

These will serve as electric counterparts to the Polo and T-Cross, and will be two of the 10 EVs the brand plans to launch by 2026 – though this number includes facelifts of existing vehicles such as the ID.3.

While new EV models proliferate through the Volkswagen line-up, the brand’s CEO says it’s “shedding old habits” and will focus on core models in the future.

That includes “noticeably simplifying our model range and packages over the next ten years”, suggesting some combustion-powered models could bite the dust.





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