Did you know that outside the US, land of infinite crossover market segmentation, VW sells multiple crossovers smaller than our Tiguan? VW USA has decided they need something smaller than the US-market Tiguan, but not any of the smaller-than-Tiguan crossovers VW already makes.
Outside the US, the car we get as the Tiguan is called the Tiguan Allspace. It’s technically VW’s “compact” crossover in the US, but at 185.1" long, and available with a 3rd row of seats, it’s not all that compact.
The orange car you see above is the rest of the world’s Tiguan. It’s 176.6" long, which is a few inches bigger than a Hyundai Tucson, and a few inches smaller than a Mazda CX-5.
Below the non-Allspace Tiguan, there’s the T-Roc at 166.7" long, and then below the T-Roc there’s the T-Cross at 161.7" long.
While none of these cars is the Goldilocks size for the next step down from the Tiguan (Allspace) in a hypothetical VW USA crossover lineup, VW already makes them, so why aren’t they bringing any of them to the US?
Autoblog talked to VW VP of Marketing and Strategy Hein Schafer at the Chicago Auto Show, and he had reasons. Well, he only really talked about the T-Roc, which is built in Portugal, and Europe is buying up all that plant’s capacity. VW also builds the T-Roc in China, but, we all know why importing cars from China to the US is an uphill climb at the moment.
The T-Cross is built in Spain and Brazil, and the non-Allspace Tiguan is built in Germany, plus under contract or through joint ventures in India, Malaysia, Algeria and Indonesia.
Importing cheap, low-margin, entry-level cars from any of these locations is a challenge, so VW instead is planning to build whatever this US-specific subcompact crossover ends up being in Puebla, Mexico, using capacity freed up by the discontinuation of the Beetle.
But wait, you thought those were all of the smaller-than-Tiguan crossovers VW sells outside the US? Nope, there’s more!
VW sells another crossover similar in size to the non-Allspace Tiguan called the Tharu, which is 175.3" long.
In Latin America, the Tharu is going to be called the Tarek, a VW model name that was previously used on this badass motherfucker:
The main reason for the Tharu/Tarek that didn’t run Dakar to exist is that it’s the same basic size as the non-Allspace Tiguan, but cheaper, for markets where vehicles of this shape and size are commoditized.
For even more confusion, VW sells yet another compact crossover called the Tayron in China, which at 180.7" long is probably too close in size to our US-market Tiguan (Allspace).
In their post, Autoblog included a picture of the Tharu, and of all these existing VW models, a Mexico-built Tharu makes the most sense to sell in the US below the Tiguan (Allspace) as it’s similar in size but cheaper to make than the non-Allspace Tiguan, and small enough relative to the Tiguan (Allspace) to fit in the lineup, and the headlights even match the styling of the Tiguan (Allspace) and Atlas.
But supposedly the US will get yet another different model than the Tharu. Given how VW likes to cheap out on US-specific models, I have a feeling it’ll be a lightly warmed over Tharu, probably with a different name and perhaps some slight interior customizations, as Herr Schafer told Autoblog that we ’Murricans are particular about our interior ergonomics, storage bins and cupholders.
Anybody in the market for a lightly used Dakar racer?