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Future models - Volkswagen - Tiguan

Frankfurt show: Volkswagen ramps up SUV attack

High riders: Volkswagen’s SUV fleet will expand across at least two more segments, and while coupe shapes will feature, there won’t be any low-seated crossovers on offer.

Fresh onslaught of category-splitting SUVs on horizon for Volkswagen’s local roster

Volkswagen logo16 Sep 2015

By TIM ROBSON in FRANKFURT

VOLKSWAGEN is intent on closing the gaps between its various SUV ranges with a brace of new products, including coupe-shaped and extra-long versions of the new-generation Tiguan, as well as at least two slightly smaller models.

Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA), meanwhile, has confirmed the impending arrival of the additional Tiguan models.

The head of Volkswagen Group’s powertrain development, Heinz-Jakob Neusser, told Australian journalists that the newly launched Tiguan would be offered in both four-door coupe and extended wheelbase variants, while a pair of smaller vehicles would be prepared to nestle beneath the mid-sized SUV.

“We will have at each segment minimum one SUV,” he said. “We have the new Tiguan for the A-plus segment, we will have the T-Roc for the A segment (Golf), then we will have the T-Cross, the segment of the Polo.”

GoAuto believes that this is the first instance that Volkswagen has given a name to its proposed Polo-based SUV.

A product known as the CrossPolo – essentially an Alltrack version of the Polo hatch – is currently sold in various markets including New Zealand, while a small SUV known as the Taigun was set to be produced for the Indian market, but it has been shelved.

Volkswagen’s platform nomenclature varies from that of other manufacturers internally, the Polo platform is known as A-zero.

Dr Neusser explained that the modular nature of the company’s MQB platform meant that such additions would be a relatively easy task. While the Golf and now the Tiguan are built on the flexible chassis architecture, only certain elements of the Polo uses MQB parts.

The T-Roc, shown as a roofless two-door turbo-diesel concept at Geneva in 2014, is built entirely on the MQB platform.

The Tiguan, which debuted at Frankfurt and will reach Australia in 2016, will spawn a seven-seater version built on a longer wheelbase. Originally in doubt for Australia, Dr Neusser confirmed that it will not only be made in right-hand-drive, but it will be a global car.

“We are doing in parallel (with Tiguan) a long-wheelbase version with a seven-seat application,” he said. “The core market for the long-wheelbase version is clear it’s China and the US market. But it will be available (in right-hand drive).”“We're … on record as talking about a longer wheel base (Tiguan),” Volkswagen Australia managing director John White told GoAuto. “We've already committed to that for Australia, so that's coming. And you've heard us talk about this coupe version of the Tiguan, which we've put our hand up for Australia as well.”

Mr White was more circumspect about the prospects of a Golf-sized SUV.

“We've seen the T-Roc, and it’s a very exciting vehicle, but there's been no decision made in terms of specific timelines on that vehicle,” he said. “But with where the segment is going in that compact and subcompact SUV space in Australia, we definitely see that as a huge potential.”

The Tiguan competes in the ferociously fought small-SUV space against the Nissan Qashqai, Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi ASX. Mazda has announced details of its own coupe-styled SUV to be known as the CX-4.

A Polo-based product would be also pitched in the same group, but would be compared to rivals like the Ford EcoSport, Mazda’s CX-3 and Holden Trax.

Given it is a coupe style SUV, the production version of the T-Roc would have few mainstream competitors.

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