By on May 25, 2019


Since supplies of Volkswagen’s held-over Tiguan Limited dried up last year, the brand hasn’t has a truly entry-level crossover with which to tempt cash-strapped Americans in need of both German heritage and cargo capacity.

A new small CUV initially planned for just North American buyers quickly became a global effort, as VW couldn’t gamble its future on EVs alone. It needs light trucks to fuel profit as it dumps cash into electrification. This North American model is now revealed to be a vehicle that debuted in China last October, and will make its way to U.S. by way of Mexico.

According to Autoblog Argentina, that country’s Pacheco plant will begin manufacturing the MQB-platform compact crossover for the Latin American market in 2021, once the assembly line bits arrive from the automaker’s SAIC Volkswagen joint venture. In Argentina, the company calls the effort the “Tarek Project.” China calls this vehicle the Tharu.

China will handle production for that market starting this year, while a Russian facility will crank out the new CUV for buyers in the Motherland. Europe, which already has the small T-Roc and slightly larger T-Cross CUVs, is not in need of another small vee-dub. Mexico is, however, and it’s in that plant where we’ll see U.S.-bound production occur. Expect to see a different name in this region.

Looking like a downsized Atlas with a strong character line sweeping from headlight to tail lamp, the Tarek/Tharu is roughly 10 inches shorter than the lengthy Tiguan that bowed for 2018. With its distinctly German looks, it should fill the gap left by the older-generation Tiguan Limited, which VW sold alongside the second-gen Tiguan for one model year. We’d be shocked it it didn’t appear with a turbocharged 2.0-liter/eight-speed auto combo, though VW’s turbo 1.4-liter could find use in lower-tier trims.

As declining volume makes itself felt at HQs the world over, Volkswagen is bucking the trend. The brand’s U.S. sales rose 4.2 percent in 2018, with the first four months of 2019 showing a 3.9 percent volume increase. By far, the Tiguan remains the brand’s best seller. With two models on offer for 2018, the Tiguan family’s sales rose 119 percent last year. Even with remaining stock of Tiguan Limiteds dwindling to nothing, Tiguan sales climbed 3.2 percent through April.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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24 Comments on “Inbound From Mexico: Volkswagen’s Tarek/Tharu Crossover Will Eventually Make It Here...”

  • avatar

    sigh. I just want a T-Roc R…

    • 0 avatar

      The T-Roc is an appaling product from VW. The interior quality is like nothing you would expect from an VW. Some German magazines even compared fit, finish and materials to a Sprinter or Transit. It seems VW somehow has to make up for the money lost by Dieselgate.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    An interesting entry. VW has a couple of vehicles that interest me, including the Jetta GLI. But I just don’t know if I can trust VW for reliability and longevity.

    • 0 avatar

      A 6 year, 72,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty should make that a bit less of a concern.

      • 0 avatar

        VW knows more about denying warranty work than Hyundai does.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes. By now, anyone who’s bought a few new cars would have realized how many excuses dealers are ready to deploy to avoid doing warranty work. In my experience, “Bumper-to-Bumper” coverage almost invariably ends up being, “well, no, that’s not covered.”

          • 0 avatar

            My friend and his ex-wife got their teenage son a new 2018 WRX automatic. With 11,000 miles, it needed a new ECU and some VVT actuators. The Subaru dealer had failed to talk them into ‘re-flashing’ it when they bought it(“for $300 we can give you 80 extra HP!!!!”)in order to void the warranty, but the dealer and Subaru still explored every avenue to deny them warranty coverage. The only warranty that matters is a forty plus year track record of not treating customers as expendable dupes.

          • 0 avatar

            What are you talking about? If it wasn’t for doing warranty work most service departments would be insolvent. What are you trying to get covered, brake pads or wipers?

          • 0 avatar

            Denied warranty claims turn into cash paying robbery, most of the time at dealers. Dealers don’t have techs standing around most of the time. They’ll pack up their tools and leave before that happens, no different than if they’re only given warranty work.

            It’s always best to avoid unreliable cars, unless you hate money. And of course paying out of pocket for work on a VW, might as well be a Porsche.

        • 0 avatar

          Criminy, is that even possible?

        • 0 avatar

          Just like Honda in their gas in oil problems :=(

    • 0 avatar

      I have friend who is VW zealot. All VWs he had (and he owned only VWs) were on lease. And very time he manages to get very good deals from dealer. He told me he does not care about reliability since it is not his problem.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        This. The B&B poo poo leasing all day in favor of CPO. Yet in 1 year my Fiesta ST will be a CPO car somewhere and I’ve treated it like the 2 year rental it is. I kick around keeping it, but it seems redline an awful lot for a keeper. And I really want to drive this GLI. My first car was a Mk II Jetta so it would be fun. I may even buy a manual, but likely lease only for all the reasons mentioned and I find leased cars to be faster and better handling than the same car purchased. As mentioned, the aftermath is a problem for the CPO buyer and warranty folks.

        • 0 avatar

          Most people buy cars for commuting and normally much more than 12000 miles a month. For me lease did not make sense. But for my friend it made sense first because he lived in short distance from work and second there always was a VW that did not sell and dealer was desperate to get rid of it. First time he got CC for song (was a sweet car) and second time dealer offered him Jetta – the offer he could not refuse. Boring commuter car but extremely cheap. I am not sure you can get good deal on something like GTI though (my boss bought one but used to replace his Audi).

  • avatar

    Nice looking, but I lost interest in VW a long time ago :(

  • avatar

    Is that an Atlas?

  • avatar

    In keeping with its Chinese name VW could change it slightly to Cthulu.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    “To tempt cash-strapped Americans in need of both German heritage and cargo capacity.”

    I am trying to imagine such a person…not having much luck. The cash strapped Americans who need cargo capacity I know are smart enough to buy a used Kia or ex-Hertz Caravan.

  • avatar

    So Europe gets the more interesting T-Roc and we get something that looks like a boring shrunken Tiguan, which itself looks like a boring shrunken Atlas.

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