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VW aims to double Tiguan sales

Future star: The second-generation Tiguan was revealed at this year’s Frankfurt motor show.

Next-generation VW Tiguan to be more popular with three distinct variants

16 Oct 2015

VOLKSWAGEN’S second-generation Tiguan compact SUV will be offered in three different body styles and could double sales of the current model, according to outgoing Volkswagen Group Australia managing director John White.

The redesigned Tiguan is due in Australia in the second half of next year, built on VW Group’s MQB modular architecture that has enabled the company to produce at least three distinct derivatives – a regular version, a long-wheelbase model with seating for up to seven, and a coupe-crossover variant.

Stretching the Tiguan’s wheelbase means the standard model will continue to compete against smaller SUVs such as the Honda HR-V, Mitsubishi ASX and Nissan Qashqai, but the larger variant will take on the Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4.

Volkswagen lifted the covers from the new-generation Tiguan at the Frankfurt motor show last month, revealing a new look that is in keeping with other updated VW product, including the new Passat launched in Australia this week.

Mr White said the Tiguan could “absolutely” be up there in the sales race with the segment-leading CX-5 once all variants are on sale.

“If you saw what was coming out of Frankfurt we have the normal-wheelbase car… then we have the longer-wheelbase Tiguan the year after, and a Tiguan coupe derivative. Those three cars open up your spectrums,” he said.

“The segment is growing. We would be selling more Tiguans right now, except for one reason. We are in the last year of the car, and we are sort of winding it down and we have kept it at a certain level.

“I honestly think that what this brand can do in Australia with the Polo, the Tiguan and the Golf that we can be right up there and it is part of our long-term strategy to be right up there with the top three, there is no doubt about that.” Mr White said the next-generation version could double the volume of the current model, and added that incoming VGA managing director Michael Bartsch was also bullish about its prospects.

“There is a great opportunity with Tiguan. I don’t want to put a number out there – Michael is just starting to see what our numbers are, but I think we can double our Tiguan volume. Once we have all three derivatives, you are looking at the derivatives of the (SUV) segment, why not?“He (Mr Bartsch) told me he thinks he could do more.”

Volkswagen has sold 5182 Tiguans this year, representing a 1.8 per cent increase over the first nine months of 2014. It currently sits around the middle of the burgeoning city SUV segment, well behind the likes of the Mitsubishi ASX (9280 sales YTD) but ahead of the Holden Trax (4319).

The current Tiguan has been around since May 2008, but received a major facelift in 2011, and has sold in consistent numbers since launch. It is the fourth-best-selling VW model behind the Golf, Polo and Amarok in Australia this year.

In terms of sales predictions for its all-new Passat, Mr White said the sleek previous-generation Passat-based CC is unlikely to be a threat to the new version’s sales.

“CC is going to have a new coupe version that’s going to be coming out in 2017,” he said. “Our CC sales are down to a level where they are 300 cars a year, so it’s not really a lot. So I see the next-generation CC coming in as more of a premium vehicle. It’s a hot-looking car and when that comes out it is going to play a different role.”

Mr White said the company is unlikely to offer its top-spec Passat Highline with anything other than a diesel engine, despite the ongoing emissions scandal that has rocked the car-maker.

“We have no plans to introduce anything else. Hybrid is always an option for us to introduce into the marketplace (but) there is not a lot of demand in this market for that. We believe there continues to be a place for diesel (although) our petrol engines are becoming more and more efficient every day,” he said.

“Obviously we will take a look at our mixes on our affected models. We will follow it very, very closely and we will adjust as we need.”

In Europe, Volkswagen offers hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of various model lines such as the new Passat and forthcoming Tiguan, while there is a full-electric version of the Golf in some markets. The company has also announced this week that its next-generation Phaeton luxury sedan will be offered with an electric powertrain.

As for introducing hybrid technology into its Australian model mix, Mr White said it was not “in the immediate plans”, but suggested it could find its way into VW product here if there was sufficient demand.

“It is not something I have heard a big cry from our dealers to consider in the marketplace (but) hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electrification is all part of the Volkswagen Group strategy,” he said.

“These are all things we could turn on in this market if we believed there was an opportunity to do so and we will continue to evaluate it very, very closely.

“I am not seeing a big hue and cry for hybrid technology.”

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