Talk about a turnaround. Volkswagen Australia will go from having an old small SUV and an ageing large five-seater to a family of five or more high-riding models in the next two-and-a-half years.
The news came at the local launch of the all-new Volkswagen Tiguan in Australia, with the five-seat model launching first up. It will be followed by a seven-seat model, which will give it some appeal against three-row offerings like the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento, among others.
Then there’ll be a replacement for the Touareg – not much to add on that yet, or perhaps we could get the new Teramont that is designed primarily for the North American market – but the real action will be in the segments below the Tiguan, the packed small SUV category.
Michael Bartsch, managing director Volkswagen Group Australia, told CarAdvice at the launch of the new Tiguan that the desire for a smaller, more affordable SUV to take on the likes of the CX-3 and HR-V is “huge”.
“It’s very important,” he said. “I think if you look at our sales figures of the last year, you can see that the real challenge that we’ve had is that we don’t have that breadth and depth in the SUV segments,” he said.
“So the new Tiguan is the first step in filling, or having that presence, in the SUV range that we need,” Bartsch said. “We’ve gone from being in the smaller segment, to now being in the medium segment.
Volkswagen Australia product marketing manager Jeff Shafer explained how the rollout will work, in vague terms.
“We are looking at, beneath Tiguan, a smaller SUV launch in 2018, T-Roc,” he said, and we assume that is the name for the new Polo-based SUV seen above.
“And sometime after that there’ll be probably another small SUV in the range,” he said, with the latter likely being a reference to the T-Cross.
As for the seven-seat model, Bartsch indicated the Tiguan+2 (name not confirmed – that’s just a guess, but hey, we think it could work!) would have a part to play in the brand’s lineup.
“You’ll see down the track a seven-seater version of the Tiguan, and of course a lot of thought is going into what also we need above the Tiguan. But that’s a discussion for another time,” Bartsch said.