Volkswagen Bringing New 'Volks-SUV' to United States, Asia
We were a little disappointed that Volkswagen decided to keep the T-Roc in Europe — not because we were clamoring for another subcompact crossover but because this one actually seemed sort of interesting. Its two-tone paint scheme and hinted specs seemed ready to take on the likes of the Jeep Renegade, Nissan Juke, and Fiat 500X. But VW said it wasn’t well-suited for the American market.
Although, there was no way the company could possibly leave the fast-growing segment alone and we assumed it would eventually come up with something else for the United States and Canada — which is exactly what happened. During a press conference in Wolfsburg, Germany, VW said it would export a new small crossover from Mexico into the U.S. but that the first run of the model will take place in China.
Referred to internally as the “Volks-SUV,” the vehicle should be a bit smaller than the recently upsized Tiguan but larger and less car-like than the European T-Roc.
“We call it internally Volks-SUV — the production car won’t have that name — because it turned from a regional project into a global project,” VW brand sales chief Juergen Stackmann explained during last week’s press conference. The global project kicks off in Asia, when the model enters production as part of VW’s joint venture with SAIC this August. By 2020, Volkswagen claimed assembly will have branched out to Mexico, Russia, and Argentina. According to Automotive News, VW executives said the model will avoid Europe entirely so that it doesn’t step on the T-Roc’s toes.
Like many automakers, Volkswagen has abandoned low-volume models to promote more practical autos that will sell well in China. In fact, the country is one of the primary reasons we see automakers pushing electric vehicles and ditching two-door derivatives. China likes sensible cars with a dash of opulence — either feigned or legitimate — and is mandating widespread electrification within its borders. Volkswagen has taken this to heart and intends to give the country what it wants while finding a way to keep the rest of the planet happy.
That will be important if VW CEO Herbert Diess intends for the Volks-SUV to reach its projected goal of 400,000 deliveries per year. China’s population is gargantuan but it probably can’t carry all of those sales by itself. Thankfully, crossovers are hot right now and Volkswagen is betting they will remain so for the foreseeable future. “In almost all regions we will almost double our SUV offerings by 2020,” Diess during the conference.
We don’t expect the new SUV to be all that different than the T-Roc internally. It’ll take on a more SUV-ish guise but will still use the firm’s MQB architecture, meaning base units are guaranteed to be front-wheel drive with a transverse four-banger.
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