UPDATE 1-VW aims to tune in to local tastes in latest U.S. turnaround plan

lunes 12 de enero de 2015 04:47 GYT

* Detroit concept model to kick off SUV offensive

* VW to reduce model cycles, hire local market experts

* 800,000 sales target impossible to reach by 2018 - IHS

* CEO Winterkorn- hitting 2018 goal no "walk in the park" (Adds CEO Winterkorn and source comments)

By Andreas Cremer

DETROIT, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Volkswagen's latest push to become more than a niche player in the United States builds on a truism the German carmaker has long ignored: if you want to crack the U.S. market, tune in to American customers.

VW is aiming for leadership in global auto markets, backed by timely expansion in China and Latin America as well as its dominance in Europe. Yet it continues to struggle in North America.

It swapped U.S. chiefs a year ago, disappointed by the results of a push into midsize sedans assembled at a $1 billion factory in Tennessee. U.S. sales of VW-branded cars have dropped 16 percent since 2012.

To fight back, the company plans to triple its product range in the fast-growing crossover segment and refresh models more quickly, company sources said.   Continuación...