Khodrocar - It seems Volkswagen has some big plans for its new T-Roc compact SUV. The automaker today announced plans for a cabriolet version that will enter production in 2020. You read that correctly – a convertible version of a brand-new SUV that, if we’re honest, hasn’t even established itself in the market yet. That’s a an unexpected move from Volkswagen to say the least, not to mention pretty darned bold given the controversial and virtually non-existent history of previous open-roof crossovers.
Still, that isn’t stopping the company from investing €80 million to bring the drop-top T-Roc to production. That translates to almost $100 million in U.S. currency, and it will all go to VW’s Osnabrück plant where the convertible crossover will be built. No details have been offered on this topless T-Roc, but the rendering above depicts a two-door version with what appears to be a folding hardtop.
"Volkswagen is evolving into an SUV brand,” said Volkwagen CEO Dr. Gerbert Diess. "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.”
We’re assuming Volkswagen is aware of the last time a manufacturer attempted to splice convertible DNA with that of an SUV. Everyone remembers the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, and not just for its awkward look. Small back seats and limited storage space negated its practicality as an SUV, while sluggish performance and terrible rigidity made it suffer as a convertible. Sure, it had more ground clearance than the average drop-top runabout, and with all-wheel drive it could handle forest trails better than, say, a Mazda Miata. But there’s a reason why it only lasted four years.
Yes, people are buying more SUVs and crossovers than ever before and we understand automakers seeking something different to stand out in the crowd. The million-dollar question here is whether modern-day SUV buyers are also convertible buyers. The Nissan experience tells us no, but maybe Volkswagen can find a way to make the idea work.