Update: Volkswagen has released a new teaser video saying the VW T-Cross will debut later today.
October 25 -
Volkswagen will unveil its all new SUV, the VW T-Cross, on October 25 in Europe, China and South America simultaneously. Set to be the smallest SUV from the brand, the T-Cross, which VW design chief Klaus Bischoff says as not being far off from the VW T-Cross Breeze concept, is part of the company's aim to increase sales of high riding models to 40 percent of its overall global sales by end of this decade. The T-Cross is a part of the cadence to have 19 Volkswagen SUVs worlwide by 2020.
Regular IAB readers will know that the T-Cross which will be unveiled in Europe this month is not the product promised for India. In fact, Volkswagen will be making at least 5 country derivatives on the T-Cross: the first for European markets, one for each of the two Chinese joint ventures, one for South America and finally the biggest derivative for India.
Coming to the T-Cross for India, top VW executives have told IAB to expect big design changes for a more butch appearance. The model for India will also focus on practicality, trying to appease buyers interested in rear seat legroom. The EU model gets a 2,560 mm wheelbase whereas the Chinese and South American variants will see this number stretched to 2,650 mm; the Indian model is certain to feature at least 2,650 mm between its axles, putting it more along the dimensions of the VW T-ROC, which sits above the T-Cross in EU markets.
Common sense dictates that the 'T-Cross' badge will be dropped in India, owing to similarities with the 'S-Cross' nameplate owned by Maruti Suzuki, which competes in the same segment.
Based on the MQB A0 IN architecture, the T-Cross will be heavily localized in India (VW indicates this will be >90 percent) to save on costs and yet offer features demanded by the Indian buyer. VW will give its characteristic over-engineering (tuned mainly for European tastes) the back seat on the Indian T-Cross; the company will not engineer the T-Cross to work in high negative temperatures never recorded in India or body parts to withstand the stress from high vehicles speeds that are never reached on an Indian motorway.
The company is keen on establishing a low cost of ownership, one of the reason it is ditching a diesel option and sticking to a petrol unit. The engine is the all-new TSI 1.0 litre unit which comes in two states of tune in the European T-Cross, that is also to be well localized in India for all future VW & Skoda cars. For the same reason, we assume VW could opt for a localized AMT system (similar to a ZF or a Magneti Marelli unit), giving its imported dual clutch transmission a miss on the SUV. The T-Cross will also miss out on the AWD system.
If all goes well, the reveal the T-Cross should conclude in India in late 2020 before its confirmed start deliveries in 2021. For the EU market, VW has announced twelve interior color options and dual tone exterior paints for the T-Cross. With OEM customization steadily on the rise in India, expect something similar on the Indianized T-Cross. Its main rival will be the Hyundai Creta and the upcoming Nissan Kicks.