What car could possibly replace a vehicle with the pedigree and history of the Volkswagen Beetle? Why, a compact crossover of course!
The last Beetle ever made (hopefully) rolled off the assembly line on July 9th at Volkswagen’s factory in Puebla, Mexico. With over 80 years of automotive heritage, the Beetle is the most produced and longest-running vehicle that the world has ever seen. Its name will go down in legend and song as the world’s true “people’s car.”
We were told at the time of the Beetle’s demise that the same factory that built it will now be retooled to produce an entirely different vehicle: an as-yet-unnamed compact crossover. Now we know what the crossover will be called.
According to VW of Mexico CEO Steffen Reiche in an interview with Automotive News, the replacement for the Beetle will be called the Tarek. Probably. He was unable to confirm the name, but it’s the one that other publications are throwing around, so we’ll call it the Tarek until Volkswagen says otherwise.
The Tarek will actually be largely based off a Chinese crossover called the Tharu. “We’ll adapt the Chinese model for this market,” Reiche told the publication. “Our version will be the stronger one, the rougher one compared to the Chinese one.”
As with most vehicles in the Chinese market, the base Tharu is somewhat underpowered. The smallest engine the Tharu receives is a 1.2-L gas motor producing 116 hp. It also has an optional 1.4-L turbo 4-cylinder with 150 hp or a 2.0-L turbo with 186 hp. All of those come paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission geared for front-wheel-drive only.
The 2.0-L Turbo sounds powerful enough for the North American market, although it remains to be seen if we’ll get an FWD or AWD transmission.
Production of the Tarek should begin in 2020 with deliveries expected to start sometime in 2021. It will be marketed below the Tiguan in Volkswagen’s lineup.