By on March 18, 2018

2018 Volkswagen T-Roc - Image: Volkswagen

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.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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18 Comments on “Volkswagen Bringing New ‘Volks-SUV’ to United States, Asia...”

  • avatar

    Nissan Juke is dead, isn’t it? Replaced by the Kicks (because it kicks your @$$ for buying a Nissan?).

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Yep. The Juke will be long dead by the time the “Volks-SUV” gets here. The much less fun-loving Nissan Kicks should start appearing later this year.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      And the Kicks joins the Soul and C-HR in a relatively-new segment of crossovers that don’t even offer AWD. Well, the C-HR offers it in other parts of the world, but not here.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Why the fixation with AWD in a segment that is in reality nothing more than a ‘raised’ FWD compact or sub-compact.

        What percentage of cute-utes are sold with AWD?
        How many actually use/require it?
        And how much does adding it add to maintenance costs and increased weight, let alone cost?

        Perhaps the major point to be ascertained by this article is that increasingly China is driving the market for new vehicles.

  • avatar

    Have Matchbox and Hot Wheels made the switch to all CUVs yet?

    • 0 avatar
      Gail Bloxham

      Great. More cars from China and Mexico. We didn’t need those pesky high paying factory jobs anyway. Damn peasants and their complaints.
      Let them eat Teslas.

      • 0 avatar

        Tesla’s are mostly built by robots. In California.

        The CEO’s goal is to speed up the assembly line and make it look like “an alien dreadnaught”. There’s no room for human assembly workers in that vision.

        That is what economic efficiency looks like. It’s happening in China, too.

  • avatar

    so…a lifted T-Roc?

    I mean, this isn’t rocket science. Just ask Honda how much effort they put into the HR-V. A high school kid with a modest credit card could have done that to the Fit, in between studies and football.

    Every one of these white-paste Americanized things takes precious attention and resources away from the GTI…

    • 0 avatar

      Well, on one hand, if anything, most of these small SUV’s are a license to print money (the GTI does alright for itself, but I doubt it has the same return on investment). On the other hand, I’m not sure this T-Roc or whatever altered version that will follow does better than a Golf than announce you have an Exciting Outdoor Lifestyle (and frankly, the number of people who legitimately need the AWD and ground clearance and something that feels like a VW and won’t be served by a Tiguan must be just about microscopic).

      • 0 avatar

        The GTI is a license to print money. It costs minimum $5K more than a base Golf, but probably costs $200 more to make, if that much. And the Golf is THE core of the entire VW line globally, despite selling in low numbers in the US. Certainly no need to fear any products taking away focus on the Golf.

        There is obviously a market for a smaller than Tiguan CUV, since everyone and their uncle is introducing that size these days.

        • 0 avatar

          “The GTI is a license to print money. It costs minimum $5K more than a base Golf, but probably costs $200 more to make, if that much.”

          The phrase, “shut up and take my money!” comes directly to mind here.

  • avatar

    Volk in Russian means “Wolf” – does not bring back good memories. I would pass on that.

    • 0 avatar

      In German, Volk means “people”. Like “folk” in English.

      Volkswagen translates to “people’s car”.

      So, the Volks-SUV is supposed to be the People’s SUV, just like the Beetle was supposed to be the people’s car. In Germany, circa 1937. This time, though, they’re planning to skip right to the part where they sell cars and make money.

      I didn’t realize that волк was a homonym for volk. I’m just starting out on the path of becoming a language geek.

      • 0 avatar

        May be Russian associate Germans with pack of wolves. There are lot of reasons to do that.

        “Most of the Slavic peoples use some variation of Nemets for “Germany” – in Polish, Niemcy (Nyem-tsih), in Czech, Německo (Nyeh-mets-ko), in Serbian Немачка (Neh-mahtch-kah), etc. And even Russian and Bulgarian, which use Германия (Ger-mahn-ee-yah) for “Germany”, use the older Slavic form for “German” as adjective: немски (Nemsky in Bulgarian) and немецкий (Nyeh-myets-kee in Russian). Even the Hungarians, a Finno-Ugric peoples completely unrelated to the surrounding Indo-European family languages (much less the Slavic languages), have borrowed some Slavic vocabulary and refer to Germans as Német (Nay-met), and Germany as Németország (Nay-met-ore-sahg; “German-land”). (Even further, the word for “mute” in Hungarian derives from this Slavic term; néma (nay-muh). *Nemets in the original Slavic meant “Those who can’t speak,” a common way to label outsiders in Neolithic Europe.”

  • avatar

    How many incrementally different sized SUVs/CUVs can one manufacturer make, for crying out loud? It’s going to get to the point where there is only marginal difference between one to another.

  • avatar

    VW Beetle shaped crossover?

  • avatar

    This looks merely like a “rounded” T-Roc. Wouldn’t it have been easier to simply sell the Q2 and T-Roc in North America, too?

    To have decided to sell neither one in North America just baffles the mind! Typical VAG b.s..

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