Volkswagen T-Roc Is Definitely Not Coming to America Now (and Probably Not Ever)

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

Volkswagen is perpetually late to the SUV party. That much we knew already. The Volkswagen Touareg came late, and was improperly positioned. The Volkswagen Tiguan was much later, and it too was overpriced and undersized. The Volkswagen Atlas, the brand’s first three-row crossover, only arrived in America this spring.

The Volkswagen T-Roc was clearly not the first guest to arrive, either. The Nissan Juke, Mini Countryman, Subaru Crosstrek, Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax, Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, and Mazda CX-3 have been collecting U.S. sales for years. But it’s not as though Volkswagen was the only major automaker late to the party. Ford’s EcoSport still isn’t here, the Hyundai Kona and Kia Stonic were unveiled only recently, and Toyota’s C-HR is a fresh release that lacks an all-wheel-drive option.

But the Volkswagen T-Roc, revealed last week, will be more than just late to the party. In the United States, the Volkswagen T-Roc has returned its invitation by ticking the wrong box. Regret to decline.

Volkswagen of America has confirmed to TTAC that the Volkswagen T-Roc will not come to the United States, probably not ever.

But it’s highly unlikely that Volkswagen will leave the Tiguan Limited — the new de-contented, low-priced Tiguan that’s already been replaced by a new Tiguan — to take the fight to America’s growing fleet of subcompact utility vehicles. Instead, expect a different small utility vehicle, a small crossover that might appeal more directly to the U.S. masses, to set foot on American shores.

Is the T-Roc too small, too big, too costly, too… something to earn its way against the Jeep Renegade and Honda HR-V and Buick Encore? Volkswagen won’t say precisely why the T-Roc is unfit for U.S. duty. The decision is an odd one. Five months ago, after Volkswagen’s U.S. boss Hinrich Woebcken acknowledged the brand’s woeful under-representation in the U.S. SUV/crossover sector, reports suggested Volkswagen’s U.S. dealer network was entirely ready to sell T-Rocs.

So far this year, only 14 percent of Volkswagen’s U.S. volume is derived from utility vehicles. More than 40 percent of the vehicles now sold in America are SUVs/crossovers.

Yet Volkswagen is now pointing out that most small utility vehicles sold globally are sold in Europe and China. To be fair, the U.S. subcompact crossover market is small. With fewer than 320,000 sales through 2017’s first seven months, the subcompact crossover sector generates far fewer sales than the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, which combined for nearly 450,000 sales during the same period.

But it is a growth sector, and it’s one that Volkswagen appears perfectly willing to neglect, at least for a little while longer. According to Bloomberg, Volkswagen plans seven new utility vehicles by the end of next year.

[Image: Volkswagen]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Aug 28, 2017

    It's nice to see the CUV craze lose one, makes me smile. Stick with it VW. And hey, site admins, WordPress 4.8.1 is available. Just thought I'd let you know!

  • Speed3 Speed3 on Aug 29, 2017

    I get it, maybe at current sales volume the subcompact crossover segment doesn't pencil out. Last year the entire segment was just over 500k. The range of sales varied from 10-20k for the Fiat, Mini, and Mazda to about 100k for the Jeep and Subaru. However, VW sales have been in decline since 2012. Maybe they passed because they know the market has peaked and this would much likelier Ben selling closer to 10-20k a year than 100k. My question is how do we know if the shift towards crossovers has ended/stabilized. What's if car sales fall further? Wouldn't VW want to offer thisnfor that contingency.

  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.
  • 2manyvettes Tadge was at the Corvette Corral at the Rolex 24 hour sports car race at the end of January 2023. During the Q&A after his remarks someone stood up and told him "I will never buy an electric Corvette." His response? "I will never sell you an electric Corvette." Take that Fwiw.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon
  • Alan My comment just went into the cloud.I do believe its up to the workers and I also see some simplistic comments against unionisation. Most of these are driven by fear and insecurity, an atypical conservative trait.The US for a so called modern and wealthy country has poor industrial relation practices with little protection for the worker, so maybe unionisation will advance the US to a genuine modern nation that looks after its workers well being, standard of living, health and education.Determining pay is measured using skill level, training level and risk associated with the job. So, you can have a low skilled job with high risk and receive a good pay, or have a job with lots of training and the pay is so-so.Another issue is viability of a business. If you have a hot dog stall and want $5 a dog and people only want to pay $4 you will go broke. This is why imported vehicles are important so people can buy more affordable appliances to drive to and from work.Setting up a union is easier than setting up work conditions and pay.
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