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VW’s five SUVs shaping up

Easy breezy: The T-Cross Breeze from the Geneva show provides a glimpse at VW’s forthcoming Polo-based crossover.

Tiguan-based models likely to spawn three of the five SUVs promised by VW by 2019

Volkswagen logo21 Sep 2016

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

VOLKSWAGEN Australia’s push to launch five SUVs by early 2019, as revealed last month by the company’s managing director, is beginning to crystallise, with at least two separate models spun off the Tiguan likely to make up the quintet.

Slated to surface internationally sometime next year ahead of a 2018 release locally will be the long-wheelbase version of the new second-generation Tiguan known simply as the ‘Tiguan XL’.

Sitting alongside the now-larger five-door medium SUV, it is closely related to the all-new Skoda Kodiak due out in 2017, with both sharing the MQB modular transverse architecture that has its roots in the current Golf.

The Tiguan XL is expected to be joined a little later by a smaller SUV offering – a Golf-derived crossover/hatch that’s slightly smaller than the original Tiguan and previewed as the T-Roc Concept of 2014. It would be similar in concept to the Mercedes-Benz GLA.

There will also be a coupe-like offering in the mould of the BMW X4, dubbed Tiguan CC. Both may end up coming, taking the Volkswagen SUV tally to six.

Finally, sitting at the bottom end of the SUV market will be the production version of the T-Cross Breeze from this year’s Geneva Motor Show, and out next year or in early 2018 as Volkswagen’s hotly anticipated small SUV answer to the Mazda CX-3, while an all-new third-generation Touareg will return as the brand’s luxury SUV flagship.

The latter, as teased by the T-Prime Concept at this year’s Beijing motor show in April, will grow in size and will most likely stand in for the United States and China-market seven-seater SUV that is looking increasingly unlikely for Australia due to lack of right-hand drive production.

Speaking at the launch of the new Tiguan in Byron Bay this week, Volkswagen Group Australia managing director Michael Bartsch admitted that the SUVs cannot come soon enough.

“2018 will be a pretty big SUV year for us,” he said. “We haven‘t had enough breadth and depth in the SUV market… but after 2018 we have a very comprehensive portfolio. That’s why we have five SUVs coming in the next 29 months.”

As Volkswagen’s smallest SUV to date, the production version of the T-Cross Breeze will be based on the next-generation Polo light car due to break cover next year, and is expected to make its global debut as early as the Geneva motor show next March.

The third-generation Touareg will adopt the Volkswagen Group’s MLB modular longitudinal platform that also underpins the popular Audi Q7.

While Mr Bartsch said that he would love to offer as many SUVs as possible, he admits that there does not seem to be enough global demand from other right-hand-drive markets such as the United Kingdom, Japan, and South Africa, to justify the huge expense in engineering the large seven-seater – likely to based on the CrossBlue concept – for RHD production.

“Offering a seven-seater SUV is fairly critical for us,” Mr Bartsch said.

“Even though not many people actually use all seven seats, it is important for them to have them… it’s a reality, and not just in Australia but globally.

“But the critical thing here is how many RHD markets want it. The UK doesn’t seem to, nor does India, Africa, or Hong Kong. They must have it also for us to get it. We want a seven-seater SUV for our market beyond the Tiguan XL, but it has to have a global ‘want’ too.”

As GoAuto reported in mid-August, there will be other Volkswagen SUVs in the pipeline heading into 2020, led by a seven-seater wagon based on the next-generation Amarok one-tonne pick-up truck.

VW SUV timeline
Tiguan II – September 2017
Tiguan II XL – Early 2018
Tiguan CC – 2018
Golf-based SUV – 2018
Polo-based SUV – 2018
Touareg III – 2018
Amarok II-based SUV – 2020

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