LOS ANGELES – Volkswagen is eyeing a fullsize SUV and will stage a “surprise” at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, a top executive tells reporters at the auto show here.

“You will get a hint in Detroit,” VW design chief Klaus Bischoffsays during a media roundtable. He does not reveal if the SUV is a production vehicle or concept, saying only, “We’re going to do something in Detroit that will be a surprise.”

Volkswagen long has expressed its desire for a fullsize SUV, slotted above its Touraeg, to compete with the likes of the Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder. Should a large SUV come to the U.S., “it will have European styling,” Bischoff says.

Bischoff says the German auto maker wants to enter the pickup truck market in the U.S., but the market cannot support a diesel pickup it sells in Europe and elsewhere.

“In the moment, a car like this is too advanced. We are not able to beat the (Ford) F-150 that costs $20,000. No way. You can’t do this with high-end (turbodiesel) technology. Not feasible.

“With the SUVs, that’s a different story.”

afoley@wardsauto.com