Volkswagen to Spend $100 Million on T-Roc SUV Convertible

The new Volkswagen convertible won't be based on a Golf as before.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen is getting serious about SUVs, and the new Atlas and Tiguan are just the tip of the iceberg. Even before the new T-Roc has even gone into production, VW announced it is investing $100 million into building a convertible version.

"Volkswagen is evolving into an SUV brand," said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen brand. "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." The Osnabrück plant, formerly the Karmann factory (as in Karmann Ghia), built VW's last Golf-based convertible, and today builds the Porsche Boxster. Clearly, it knows how to build a convertible. 

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But just how well will a two-door convertible SUV sell? The last one available, the Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet, was a flop, with only a few thousand sold in all of North America during its brief four-year run. The T-Roc will reportedly offer a folding hardtop rather than the Nissan's soft top, but it will still suffer a significant loss of practicality with the cargo space and back doors lost. Volkswagen doesn't even offer a two-door Golf here anymore. Why does it think a two-door SUV will be successful?

But if nothing else, VW is great at marketing, so perhaps would-be customers who wish they could still pick up a Cabrio or Eos would be happy to drive a convertible T-Roc instead. For VW's sake, I hope I'm wrong.