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Volkswagen T-Cross coming next year

Roc and roll: While the Australian future of the T-Roc (left) is unclear, the yet-to-be-seen T-Cross is locked and loaded for a late 2019 launch.

Polo-based VW T-Cross confirmed but larger, premium T-Roc isn’t adding up – yet

8 Aug 2018

VOLKSWAGEN has finally confirmed that it will offer the as-yet unseen T-Cross small SUV in Australia in the latter half of 2019, but the local future of the more upmarket T-Roc crossover remains unclear due to pricing and production issues.
To be unveiled in the coming weeks, the smaller T-Cross is based on the latest Polo’s MQB-A0 platform and it sits on a wheelbase that is 9mm longer than the Polo’s and shares most of its three-cylinder mechanicals.
But the Golf-derived T-Roc – revealed ahead of last year’s Frankfurt motor show – is a larger and more premium offering (think Mercedes GLA compared to the A-Class) that may end up being too expensive to justify bringing into Australia.
Part of the delays are due to production constraints caused by the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) legislation in Europe, which has Volkswagen working overtime to complete the required fuel consumption and emissions testing on hundreds of different variants. From September 1 this year, no new vehicle can be sold in Europe without having met the procedure.
According to Volkswagen Group Australia managing director Michael Bartsch, even if the numbers stack up and all the necessary homologation hurdles are cleared for sale in Australia, the T-Roc could not be imported until 2020 or possibly even 2021 at the earliest.
“The timing availability for when (T-Roc) gets to Australia means it might be two or three years away,” he told GoAuto at the launch of the Tiguan Allspace in Melbourne last week. 
“It comes down to two things at the moment – (even if) we have a right-hand-drive car made for Australia and homologated for Australia, where that sits at the moment in terms of overall priorities with everything else going on (is uncertain).
“There’s a general principle that as long as we get the pricing right, then we are a global brand and products are represented globally. (So) it’s up to us to sit down and present the business case with Germany and say ‘here is how it works’.
“So, (the T-Roc) is not confirmed, but nothing is denied (either). It is still in a discussion phase, because we still have to make sure we can get the car here in Australia at a price point that makes sense. The T-Cross is only a matter of time, but T-Roc is still under discussion… there’s no firm commitment on timing and we still have a long way to go in terms of pricing discussion.”
Even without the T-Roc adding incremental volume as a sort of jacked-up highly-specified Golf crossover, Mr Bartsch said the T-Cross will grow Volkswagen volumes considerably in Australia.
“To us it’s the biggest area of opportunity,” he said. “If you look at our sister company Audi, for example, they have a total market at about 85 per cent; at the moment, Volkswagen has only a market coverage of about 62 or 63 per cent. Where we’re losing it is in the SUV segment.
“And the area where we still need to have representation improvement to get the brand where we ultimately want it to be in the A0 (small SUV) area, and we still have a fair amount of ground to cover on that with T-Cross and T-Roc.
“T-Cross is coming but T-Roc is still the question mark.” 
According to VGA general manager of marketing Ben Wilks, the T-Roc’s potential size and pricing clash with the slightly larger Tiguan is not an issue as they would appeal to different consumers.
“I think there’s a great position we can have with all those SUVs together,” he added. “The T-Cross represents a great entry point into our SUV range.
“T-Roc is, if you like, somewhat of a GTI of small SUVs, so it is a more sporting design, with a more raked profile. The Tiguan normal wheelbase represents a step into a slightly larger vehicle, and the cadence goes on from there. 
“They all fit together well, and it’s a matter of us being able to position them in the right manner.”

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