VW evaluating T-Roc potential in Canada as it looks to expand lineup

The Volkswagen T-Roc, shown as a concept at the 2014 Geneva auto show, may be renamed before going on sale in the United States.

Volkswagen Canada says the automaker hasn’t yet decided on whether the T-Roc compact crossover will be sold in Canada, even though it’s ready to hit European dealerships in August and arrive in the United States in 2019.

“The T-Roc concept is one of many we are evaluating for the product portfolio in Canada,” VW Canada spokesman Thomas Tetzlaff told Automotive News Canada in an email. 

Volkswagen has already added the new seven-passenger Atlas and new Tiguan 5+2 SUV to the Canadian lineup.

“Going forward, we will be looking at the T-Roc as well as other SUV/CUV options as we continue to expand our all-wheel-drive offerings in the Canadian market,” Tetzlaff wrote.

He added: “Volkswagen is keen on rapidly expanding our lineup of such cars and trucks."

The T-Roc is still listed as a concept vehicle on Volkswagen Canada’s website.

U.S. dealers committed

Volkswagen will launch the T-Roc compact crossover in the United States in 2019, slotting it below the new Mexico-built Tiguan, after U.S. dealers gave a firm commitment they can sell enough of the vehicle to make it profitable.

Since the U.S. is build-to-stock rather than build-to-order, a source at the company told Automotive News, the decision ultimately depended on whether VW's 650 retail partners would vote in favor of the introduction.

While the decision to move ahead with the T-Roc has been made, other key factors are undecided. It remains unclear, for example, whether the model would be built in VW's Chattanooga plant; in Puebla, Mexico; or even imported from its European factory in Portugal.

Moreover, the 2017 model-year Tiguan imported currently from Germany may continue to be sold alongside the longer-wheelbase version 2018 Tiguan as long as there is demand for it. This could mean that dealers have three SUVs -- both Tiguans and the new Atlas -- to offer customers until the T-Roc lands two years from now, potentially increasing the Tiguan's volume beyond the current 3,500 sold a month.

And the T-Roc may be renamed for the U.S.

'Everybody loves T-Roc'

When asked about the product strategy for the U.S., VW brand chief Herbert Diess confirmed in Wolfsburg on Tuesday, March 14, that both North and South America would get a vehicle positioned below the Tiguan.

"It was only yesterday that we decided on an additional SUV for 2019," he told reporters after the company's annual results press conference in Wolfsburg.

Former VW dealer chairman Alan Brown told Automotive News last March that the concept was popular with his colleagues, so it was more a question of affordability.

"Everybody loves T-Roc, everybody," Brown said. "The only concern is whether it's going to be priced outside of the market, where it wouldn't do the volume that it deserves to do."

The T-Roc launches this August in Europe and will come optional with all-wheel drive.

Christian Hetzner and Greg Layson contributed to this report.

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