Volkswagen Group Australia has been forced to push back the arrival of the much anticipated – and much needed – T-roc small SUV, with worldwide demand far outstripping supply.
Launching in Europe now, the Portuguese-built small SUV’S production run has already been increased to 200,000 units a year, but it is not enough to supply expected Australian demand.
This means the smaller, Polo-based crossover – dubbed T-cross – is likely to beat the larger sub-tiguan T-roc to market.
The T-cross, which Volkswagen hopes to retail in line with its Golf pricing structure, is not expected to be seen in Australia before late 2019, and while there is no date being placed on the arrival of the T-roc by the company, it could push out to 2020.
Volkswagen Australia managing director Michael Bartsch told Goauto at the launch of the Arteon sedan that the decision had been taken internally to push back the launch of the T-roc by at least 12 months.
“We need to temper our expectations on the T-roc,” he said.
“The decision has been just recently made, after much debate and much consideration, to take us off the shortterm list for T-roc. They simply can’t get the production up to where they need to introduce it here.
“I’ve been in this business long enough to know that, if you’re going to do something, do it properly.
“I don’t want to bring a car out here that is strangled for volume, you can’t get enough and then you disappoint people and you get people pinged off.
“I’d rather do it properly and make sure we put everything right.”
Mr Bartsch said he believed potential sales for the T-roc, T-cross and Tiguan combined was estimated at 15,000 cars per annum.
The T-cross – which was previewed by the T-cross Breeze convertible crossover concept at last year’s Geneva motor show – is set to be the more affordable car of the pair.
Mr Bartsch confirmed the company would focus on positioning the smaller crossover while it waited for production slots for the T-roc.
He said the company learned a lesson with the Tiguan, which was in short supply in Australia.
The wait list for premium Tiguan variants has pushed out to six months.
“It has been so frustrating,” Mr Bartsch said.
“The good news is there’s nothing better than demand outstripping supply.
“We’ve been the gap between demand and supply just simply being too big.
“The same thing would happen with T-roc.
“And so, we said we need to just park it for a year and come back to it and really examine it, and just focus on getting the T-cross out.”
Goauto understands the company is investigating adding capacity at other suitable plants around the world that also produce vehicles built on the shared MQB platform that underpins the Golf, Tiguan and T-roc.