VW Rolls Out a Two-Tone Compact SUV to Challenge Nissan

Volkswagen AG will roll out its smallest sport utility vehicle yet, offering optional flair like different colors for the roof and body, as the carmaker seeks to catch up with rivals in the fast-growing segment.
In addition to two-tone paint jobs, options include a fully digital cockpit display and 8-inch screens. Apple Inc.’s Beats Electronics LLC offers a 300-watt, 8-channel sound system tailored to the car’s interior. The VW T-Roc, priced at about 20,000 euros ($23,600), is set to reach European showrooms in November and then go on sale in almost all major markets worldwide.
Herbert Diess and the T-Roc
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
The T-Roc, at 4.23 meters (14 feet) long, is roughly the size of Nissan Motor Co.’s popular Qashqai, but comes more than a decade later. The compact SUV follows the introduction this year of the larger Atlas in the U.S. and sister Teramont model in China. Overall, VW plans to bring out seven SUVs or crossovers by the end of 2018, with the expansion aimed at boosting profitability and burnishing its image two years after the diesel-cheating scandal erupted.
The compact T-Roc “embodies all good Volkswagen qualities and will give our SUV offensive added momentum,” Herbert Diess, head of the VW nameplate, said Wednesday at the model’s presentation at Lake Como, Italy. The brand has a goal of eventually boosting SUV sales to 40 percent of its deliveries, he said, from roughly 15 percent now.

Crowded Market

The T-Roc is entering an increasingly crowded market and will compete with the Qashqai, Renault SA’s Captur and Toyota Motor Corp.’s recently introduced C-HR. Surging demand for SUVs has sparked interest from new manufacturers as well. China’s Chery Automobile Co. is plotting inroads with a new compact model it will unveil at the Frankfurt auto show next month.
Volkswagen is betting that the T-Roc can still pay off despite its late arrival. To cut costs, the model will share components with the Audi division’s Q2 crossover. Improving economies of scale and reining in excessive spending will be vital for the VW marque achieving a 4 percent return on sales while investing in a range of electric cars planned to hit the market starting in 2020.
The T-Roc will be available in gasoline and diesel versions, and eventually be offered with a so-called mild hybrid option, with a small electric motor assisting the main engine. The model will provide 23 percent more trunk space than VW’s bestselling Golf hatchback, which is similarly priced. While the T-Roc might lure some buyers away from the more established model, the SUV is primarily targeted at competitors’ customers, and “the Golf will remain the heart of VW brand,” Diess said.
The T-Roc will initially be manufactured at VW’s plant in Setubal, Portugal. A factory in Foshan, China, will produce a longer version.
Almost 80 percent of compact SUVs are currently sold in Europe and China, while the models are “gaining in importance” in Brazil, India, Russia and the U.S., VW brand sales chief Juergen Stackmann said in the statement. Volkswagen estimates that industrywide sales in the segment will surge 65 percent in 10 years to 10.6 million vehicles.
VW Rolls Out a Two-Tone Compact SUV to Challenge Nissan VW Rolls Out a Two-Tone Compact SUV to Challenge Nissan Reviewed by Alexander Von Stern on 03:21:00 Rating: 5