Volkswagen has teased images of a new version of the T-Roc crossover, and it’s a convertible.
That’s right: Volkswagen is making a convertible compact SUV. Why? Nobody knows but for the Volkswagen Group Supervisory Board, which approved a €80 million investment (or about $100 million) to produce the bizarre crossover cabriolet.
Evidently, Volkswagen did not learn the lesson of the Nissan Murano convertible circa 2011. The world’s first crossover convertible, the Murano CrossCabriolet was an utter disaster. It looked like a regular Murano had sex with a Juke and then had its head lopped off and replaced with a tarp.
The CrossCabriolet sold abysmally before finally being discontinued in 2014. But hey, maybe Volkswagen knows something that Nissan didn’t?
According to a Volkswagen press release, SUVs are an incredibly important market segment for the world’s second-largest auto manufacturer. VW’s most popular SUV, the Tiguan, has sold over 720,000 million units over its lifetime, and VW plans to expand their fleet of SUVs to 20 models by the year 2020. That might be a little overkill, but you don’t get to be the world’s second-largest carmaker by making poor bets.
By the year the T-Roc convertible comes out (2020) Volkswagen expects that 40 percent of all sales will be SUVs.
"Volkswagen is evolving into an SUV brand,” says Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess in a statement. “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."
VW’s Osnabrück factory currently makes the aforementioned Tiguan as well as the Porsche Cayman. It’s incredibly important for the German company politically as it employs 2,300 workers and provides a local face for the Volkswagen brand.
On the other hand, it seems a little bit like they’re setting the factory up for failure by having them make a convertible crossover, a thing that nobody ever asked for and has historically sold poorly.
As usual, we’ll have to trust in Volkswagen’s infinite wisdom in carmaking.