VW CEO Winterkorn bullish on T-ROC's future

VW believes a crossover of the size of the T-ROC concept would appeal to customers all over the world.
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Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn is bullish about the future of the automaker's T-ROC concept, which shows what the automaker believes would fit between the Tiguan compact SUV and its planned subcompact SUV.

"We will ask our customers [for feedback on the T-ROC] and I am sure they will like this car. And if they do, we will build it," Winterkorn told Automotive News Europe at the VW Group's pre-Geneva auto show event on Monday.

VW brand head of development Heinz-Jakob Neusser was also positive about the T-ROC , calling it a logical evolution of the Golf model line. In addition, he told Automotive News Europe he believes a crossover of that size would appeal to customers all over the world.

In Europe, sales of small SUVs and crossovers rose 78 percent to 515,270 last year compared with 2012, according to market researchers at JATO Dynamics. Meanwhile, many U.S. customers are looking to downsize into smaller SUVs.

The three-door, four-seat T-ROC is based on VW's new MQB platform that underpins VW Group models such as the latest Golf and the Audi A3.

The T-ROC's "progressive design of the front end demonstrates a new approach to compact SUVs by the VW brand," the company said in a statement.

The concept has all-wheel drive and is powered by the same 182-hp, 2.0-liter diesel fitted in the VW Golf GTD. A removable tablet in the center console acts as an infotainment display.

VW brand design boss Klaus Bischoff told reporters on the sidelines of Monday's event that the automaker planned to have touchscreen controls in its vehicles within the next two to three years.

At 4179mm long, the T-ROC is smaller than the Tiguan but larger than the Taigun subcompact SUV concept.

You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at dbolduc@crain.com.

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