That the Volkswagen T-Roc premium compact SUV is coming to India, is something we confirmed to you in April this year. Now carandbike has learnt that the VW T-Roc's launch has been deferred by a little over 2 months to the next Delhi Auto Expo in February 2020. VW India is finally on a roll, and its an SUV-fest all the way. Expect the brand to go SUV-heavy in India starting 2020. The T-Roc's arrival is a precursor to this plan. The T-Roc shall be joined by the VW Tiguan Allspace (long wheelbase version of the car we currently have), and the slightly smaller T-Cross based India specific model. The T-Roc will be brought in as a completely built import and so VW India will only be targeting limited volumes with it. The plan is to use some of the group's quota under the Indian government's scheme of allowing 5000 units of imported units to be sold without the need to locally homologate the models. Of course a lot of this quota will also be shared by group brands Skoda (likely for the Kodiaq RS and Karoq), Porsche and Audi.
The T-Roc will be offered in a petrol-only avatar with the 1.5 litre turbocharged TSI engine. And will come with the 7-Speed DSG dual clutch automatic gearbox as standard. I had test driven the car last year, with its much smaller 3-cylinder, 1.0 TSI engine, and had come away impressed even then. So the 1.5 will certainly be a hoot I reckon. As I said when I drove it though, the VW T-Roc is the right size and shape to attract the desi buyer's attention. I believe it also brings the right kind of sophistication to the segment. It will definitely help build the right aspiration and expectation for future VW products in India, that shall follow by mid-2020.
Even though in size terms it is a tad smaller, the VW T-Roc will be pitted against the likes of the Jeep Compass, MG Hector, and Tata Harrier. Pricing will be key to any success, and so VW India is aiming at a Rs 18-19 lakh price point. The car will be fully-loaded and so expect one variant only - with a premium trim that gets all the bells and whistles, and safety features as standard. It is likely the T-Roc will come with only two-tone roof variants, in relatively limited colour options. Volkswagen will be positioning the T-Roc as a brand shaper and influencer, to pave the way for the T-Cross based compact SUV that shall follow. To be shown at the Expo as a production-ready concept, the 'Indian T-Cross' will get a market launch around June 2020. The car will be heavily localised and shall sport an India-made 1.0 TSI engine. It will share components and its platform with a similar-sized model from Skoda that will also have an Expo debut, but will hit the market a month or two after that.
The VW Group will be looking at the T-Roc to help shape its image as it tries to build a second coming in India. Having fared poorly so far, the SUV play is expected to kick in volumes and eventually profitability - both of which have been lacking until now. It is also why it has formulated a new India 2.0 strategy where Skoda has taken the lead, and all businesses of the two brands in India are now merged into one entity. While the two brands have sworn never again to simply cross-badge cars, the plan does still seek to guarantee greater economies of scale, efficiencies and yes - smarter product sharing.