Don’t expect the sales growth of SUVs to slow down anytime soon, not when a global giant like the Volkswagen Group is promising an SUV version of almost every model it makes.
Jaguar Land Rover is also looking at expanding its range. Toyota’s luxury arm Lexus has just released its NX range; Mazda its new CX-3. Subaru calls its new Outback an SUV. Almost every carmaker has an SUV of some sort.
VW confirmed at the recent New York motor show that it was working on a variety of new SUVs, from a full-sized coupe to rival the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE to a higher-riding version of the Golf, based on the T-ROC concept (top) shown at Geneva in 2014.
Chairman Dr Heinz-Jakob Neusser told reporters the priority was for the development of conventional SUVs rather than expanding the VW Alltrack range.
“We can do this (expand Alltrack), clearly, but to be honest, the first priority is a mid-sized SUV, second the Tiguan, then the T-ROC – the Golf SUV.
“We do it job by job. Otherwise it’s too complex to explain to the customer. You can’t do everything in parallel, you must be clear on what you are doing – and the clear plan was to cover each class with an SUV.”
“Once this is done, we’re thinking about coupe derivatives on the mid-sized SUV and on the Tiguan. The T-ROC is a bit coupe-styled so it makes no sense to make an additional coupe because it’s already a trendy, emotional thing. The same is true of a Polo-based version – that will come directly as more dynamic.”
Jaguar and its sister brand Land Rover also hinted they would grow their SUV range. Jaguar is talking about positioning its new F-Pace as the core model in an expanded line-up of crossovers, and Land Rover says of its new Defender that there “will be a family.”
Jaguar global director Steven De Ploey told reporters at New York that the success of the SUV market around the world made it too big for Jaguar to ignore.
“I can’t comment on what we’re going to be bringing on that side, but it’s clear that the fastest growing segment are SUVs, mid-size SUVs, compact SUVs. I think the only thing I can say is that the F-Pace will be the core model in that range,” De Ploey said.
“We have very big hopes that it will be the car that will set us on the map as a car that is more practical and more accessible to more customer groups.”
Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern told reporters the company would breed from the new Defender. “There will be a family, I’m not going to tell you what they are – that’s for you to deduct,” he said.
“The most important thing is relevance, they need to be relevant to a world that has changed massively since the Defender was first created.”
He said the replacement for the 65-year-old off-roader would retain the rugged, go-anywhere capability of the current model. “The reality is you can’t design a car like that anymore – it doesn’t meet legislation, it’s designed using archaic manufacturing techniques, all of those things.
“It needs to be relevant, it needs to be modern but it needs to capture the essence of the original, the honesty of it. It will be incredibly durable. It has to be even more capable than the original. It’s the price of entry. It will be the real deal.”