VW plans to produce cabriolet version of the T-Roc compact SUV

Article by Christian A., on February 26, 2018

We could sense that Volkswagen has some big plans for the new T-Roc compact SUV. In fact, on February 23, they announced that a cabriolet version is on its way to be produced in 2020. It will essentially be a convertible version of a new SUV that has not been established in the market.

A lot of us were actually surprised at the fact that Volkswagen announced this and the fact that they are coming out with a model that has a non-existent history of open roof crossovers.

Having said that, nothing is stopping the automaker from investing €80 million to bring the drop top T Roc to production. In the United States, that’s more or less $100 million. And this money will go the company’s Osnabrück plant where the convertible crossover will be produced. We have not actually heard of any details regarding the said model, but as you could see, the rendering depicts a two-door version of this folding hardtop.

CEO Dr. Gerbert Diess says that Volkswagen is turning into an SUV brand, and the T Roc is starting to set standards in the compact SUV segment. They also said that the addition of the T-Roc is akin to adding a highly emotional model to the range.

There haven’t been plenty of attempts for an SUV to be chopped into a convertible. We assume that Volkswagen is aware of the last time a manufacturer attempted to inject a convertible’s DNA into an SUV. The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet ended its run prematurely and we believe that its awkward look played a major role. The SUV had a limited storage space and it had small rear seats.

Overall, it didn’t feel like it was an SUV. At the same time, it didn’t also stand out as a convertible because of its sluggish performance and terrible rigidity. Though it did have more ground clearance than the average drop top, and it had an all wheel drive that lets it handle forest trails better than a Mazda Miata, there are obvious reasons why the model did not last more than four years in the market.

It has been proven that consumers nowadays are purchasing more SUVs and crossovers than before, and we get why automakers are looking into something different to stand out in the crowd. The biggest question here though is whether modern day SUV buyers are also into convertibles - as those are two different things. We did see that this did not work for Nissan, but who knows, Volkswagen might create a hit out of the new drop top T-Roc.

Press Release

Volkswagen brand's first SUV cabriolet: Supervisory Board confirms cabriolet version of T-Roc

Green light for a new cabriolet based on the T-Roc: within the framework of its major model offensive, the Volkswagen brand is launching its first convertible SUV. The new model is to be produced from the first half of 2020. At its meeting held today, the Volkswagen Group Supervisory Board confirmed the investment of more than €80 million in the Osnabrück plant which is required for this purpose. With this decision, the brand will be continuing the cabriolet success story of the Osnabrück team and safeguarding employment at the plant.

Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, says: "Volkswagen is evolving into an SUV brand. The T-Roc is already setting new standards in the compact SUV segment. With the cabriolet based on the T-Roc, we will be adding a highly emotional model to the range. I am especially pleased to note that we can count on the Osnabrück team's decades of experience with convertibles. The Osnabrück plant now has bright prospects for the future."

SUVs are currently making a key contribution to the growth of the Volkswagen Group's core brand. With 720,000 Tiguan vehicles delivered, this car is among the 10 best-selling models in the world and the top three SUV's. By 2020, the brand intends to expand its SUV range throughout the world to 20 models. By then, about 40 percent of the vehicles sold by Volkswagen are to be SUV's. With the new cabriolet based on the T-Roc, Volkswagen will further reinforce its presence in the compact SUV segment, one of the fastest-growing segments in global automobile markets.

The investment of more than €80 million in the production of the new cabriolet will allow the comprehensive modernization of production technology, assembly and logistics at the Osnabrück plant. Following the run-up phase, a production volume of up to 20,000 vehicles per year is planned.

With the new cabriolet based on the T-Roc, Volkswagen is bringing this body style into the currently particularly strong growing SUV segment. This model continues Volkswagen's cabriolet tradition, which dates back almost 70 years. The original version of the T-Roc was successfully launched on European markets at the end of 2017. To date, more than 40,000 orders have been taken for the model.

Volkswagen Osnabrück GmbH currently has about 2,300 employees. In 2017, the plant assembled more than 76,000 units on three production lines. Currently, Volkswagen Osnabrück assembles the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Porsche Cayman. In addition, the plant is responsible for part of the painting work needed for the ŠKODA Fabia. Since Volkswagen Osnabrück GmbH was founded in 2011, more than 280,000 vehicles have rolled off the assembly lines.

Source: VW

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