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Volkswagen to add compact four-door coupe to its lineup

Fri, 16 Mar 2012

Volkswagen has hatched plans for a second four-door “coupe” model as part of a strategy to shore up its North American and Chinese market shares while providing a suitable addition to its European lineup.

To be positioned underneath the recently facelifted CC, the new four-seater is set to form part of the Jetta lineup, joining successors to today's sedan and wagon models in an expanded three-model range. They're all set to hail from Volkswagen's Puebla plant in Mexico, the same site responsible for the newly launched second-generation Beetle.

Known internally under the designation SC (denoting “sport coupe”)--a name it is potentially taking into production--the car was recently given approval after U.S. market studies revealed that Volkswagen's earlier plans for a two-door version of the Jetta, as previewed by the NCC (New Compact Coupe) at the 2010 Detroit auto show, garnered only a lukewarm response from potential customers.

“Our research suggests there is increasingly a market for a sportier and more stylish version of the Jetta in the mold of the CC, only smaller and more affordable,” a Volkswagen source revealed to Autoweek. “From the feedback we've received so far, buyers want an individual body style and the practicality of four doors.”

With a three-door version of the seventh-generation Golf due out later this year, together with the Scirocco (Europe) and Beetle, the Volkswagen line is well represented in the traditional-coupe segment. The SC was conceived to compete against an upcoming sedan version of the third-generation Audi A3 previewed at last year's Geneva motor show, as well as the Mercedes-Benz CLC, which is due to be previewed in concept form at the upcoming Beijing motor show.

The four-door will be first in a new wave of Jetta models to be based on the German carmaker's MQB (Modularen Querbau) platform, as found beneath the new A3.

The SC will be sold alongside a successor to today's larger and more luxurious CC, which is currently undergoing the first stages of development and is set for launch in 2015.

By Greg Kable