Green light for VW T-Roc convertible SUV
VOLKSWAGEN has announced that it will build a convertible SUV based on its popular T-Roc small crossover. The car, which will start production in 2020, will sit between the likes of the Range Rover Evoque Convertible and smaller, conventional cabriolets such as the Audi A3 Convertible.
VW is keen to point out that it’s been building convertible vehicles for almost 70 years, starting with the drop-top version of the original Beetle. That tradition continues today with the current Beetle Cabriolet that, despite declining volumes overall, is still Europe’s second best-selling convertible.
The new drop-top T-Roc will be a spiritual successor to the VW Golf Cabriolet, which was quietly dropped from the brand’s UK line-up back in 2016. The car maker is attempting to profit from the public’s voracious appetite for vehicles that at least appear to go off-road, which led to European sales figures for mid-sized SUVs growing by 30 per cent in 2017 over the previous year.
Little information has been released on the new T-Roc convertible short of a single sketch, but it would likely utilise the same range of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines as the hard-top version. Expect to see the car ride on Volkswagen’s scalable MQB platform.
The new T-Roc convertible will be built at the brand’s Osnabruck plant, which was responsible for the Golf Cabriolet as well as other sports and specialist vehicles from across the VW group. It currently produces the Tiguan and Porsche Cayman, as well as the ultra-low-volume XL1 economy car. Production of the T-Roc cabriolet will bring with it around £70 million-worth of investment into the modernisation of the plant.
Dr Herbert Diess, chief executive of VW, said: ‘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 Osnabruck team’s decades of experience with convertibles.’