Production shortfalls in Germany have hampered sales of the Volkswagen Tiguan in Australia during its first 12 months on the market, but the company says a clearer pipeline and the imminent arrival of a seven-seat long-wheelbase option will give it room to dramatically scale-up deliveries during 2018.
In what must be considered a warning to medium SUV heavyweights Mazda (CX-5), Hyundai (Tucson) and Nissan (X-Trail), Volkswagen's local arm is confident of a sales increase greater than 50 per cent, if everything falls its way. Though it must be added, overall segment growth may mean VW's competitors need not lose too much sleep.
Pictured: Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, its version of the Skoda Kodiaq
The German-built SUV averages about 800 sales a month at the moment (8069 units sold to October), but Volkswagen Australia chief Michael Bartsch reckons a monthly average of around 1250 units is highly achievable once supply on the regular car improves from the second-quarter of next year, and when the seven-seat Tiguan Allspace arrives by mid-year.
"I think at the moment we are completely undercooked," he told us, frankly, clearly using us as another means of reassuring a dealer network hungry for greater allocation and a buying public currently not ideally catered for.
"Particularly when we bring the long wheelbase out, I don't see any reason why a car like Tiguan couldn't get to 15,000 units a year. There's no reason. The segment is growing, the technology is right, as is the price positioning. I think there's enormous potential."
For context, the 15,000 annual figure would - in 2017, a year where medium SUV sales are up a significant 16 per cent - place the Tiguan ahead of the Subaru Forester and slightly behind the Mitsubishi Outlander. The class-topping Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson average north of 2000 units per month.
In VW's favour, though, is the fact that it sells far more flagship, high-yield variants than any rival bar perhaps Mazda. About 40 per cent of Tiguans sold are the flagship Highline 162TSI and 140TDI, which usually sell for more than $50,000 drive-away - and this is where the supply shortfalls are biting hardest.
"Highline is where everybody is going and it's where we have the big shortage," Bartsch claims, citing higher-than-expected global demand for tech such as the 12-inch Active Info Display digital instruments, the supplier of which is apparently well behind on what is now needed.