Barely two days after the Volkswagen Group announced its big-ticket investment of a billion euros (Rs 8,000 crore) to revamp its India operations and drive a Skoda-led programme to develop future Volkswagen Group cars for India, the German carmaker today released a sketch of the T-Cross SUV. The vehicle will be based on the Volkswagen Group's new MQB A0 underpinnings, which form the base for the other compact SUVs, such as the Seat Arona, and hatchbacks including the new Polo.
VW’s first SUV to be made or manufactured in India is likely to be a mildly altered version of the T-Cross, an illustration of which has been officially released by VW. Autocar India had previously reported on VW’s Hyundai’s Creta-sized rival back in June 2016, soon after VW had revealed the T-Cross Breeze concept at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.
It’s a good-looker
Expected to hit showrooms in India in 2020, the car features an extremely grown-up look for an SUV that measures only 4,107mm in length. The bluff nose has been made to look more imposing by using a chunky chin and the tall wraparound headlights merge seamlessly with the grille. In the past, VW has been criticised for making bland and featureless cars, but here, the large ‘square’ fog lamps really do help the design to stand out and look different.
What Indian car buyers will appreciate is the fact that the design has got SUV written all over it. It has an upright SUV-like glasshouse – very important for Indian SUV buyers – prominent wheel arches, a very strong shoulder line and attractively ‘linked’ tail-lights at the rear. While the car that will be introduced in India will not be identical to those sold in other markets, it will feature key changes to keep it more in line with Indian tastes.
VW is also likely to hold on to its slightly premium price position. Its first Indian-made SUV is likely to be priced somewhere in the region of Rs 12-18 lakh, but the company says it will be very competitive as the car will be loaded to the gills with features, some of them not yet seen in the class in India. Apart from an extremely large touchscreen and advanced telephone and web connectivity, VW says it will give the car sliding rear seats, an extremely high quality cabin and the best safety kit on offer in the market.
High on localisation
With its future SUV built in India on a heavily localised and lower cost version of VW (and Skoda’s) MQB A0 platform (known internally as the MQB A0 IN), following its new investment, the carmaker will be able to manufacture or locally source a massive 90 percent of its parts, thereby facilitating reduced costs. The localized parts will include the 115hp, direct injection, three-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine, the suspension, axles, driveshafts, a high quality interior and the monocoque chassis stamped locally from Indian-made steel.
As of now, VW has no plans to launch a four-wheel-drive version of the SUV and the T-Cross may eventually be renamed for India but one thing’s for sure – this is where VW gets serious about the Indian market. This vehicle will be a game-changer. The SUV competition stands warned.
Also see: Volkswagen T-Cross SUV image gallery