When it comes to car sales, one cannot overstate China’s importance on the global stage.
Manufacturers go out of their way to cater to Chinese customers’ tastes and VW makes no exception. Leaving aside the ubiquitous long-wheelbase versions of existing models, the German company has launched a number of China-exclusive models in recent years. Those include the Phideon luxury sedan, the Lavida, Lamando, and many others.
As elsewhere, VW’s China strategy has shifted to SUVs lately. We’ve already seen that the T-Cross has a distinct design for the Chinese market, and now VW is launching two new SUVs exclusively for the Asian country.
The automaker has officially revealed the new Tayron and Tharu at the Guangzhou Auto Show. Previewed earlier this year in Beijing, the new models boost VW’s SUV lineup in China to six models. The other four are the T-Roc, Tiguan, Teramont, and Touareg. So where do the new SUVs integrate into the lineup?
VW Tayron as a smaller and more affordable alternative to the Touareg
Well, the Tayron, built by FAW Volkswagen, is based on the MQB platform and targets China’s “middle- to upper-class SUV market.” Its name is a combination of the words “tiger” and “iron,” with VW claiming it reflects the powerful design of the new SUV.
Size-wise, the Tiguan-derived model is almost 4.6 meters (181.1 inches) long, splitting the gap between the Tiguan and Tiguan L. However, it will be positioned as a smaller alternative to the Touareg — not just in terms of size but design as well. If you find it looks familiar, it’s because it was previewed by the Advanced Mid-Size SUV Concept in March 2018.
VW Tharu splits the gap between the T-Roc and Tiguan
As for the VW Tharu, it’s built by SAIC Volkswagen and it’s described as a “powerful family SUV.” The Tharu is also MQB-based, and its dimensions place it between the T-Roc (which has an 85mm/3.3in longer wheelbase in China) and the Tiguan.
The compact Tharu is 4,453mm (175.3in) long, 1,841mm (72.5in) wide and 1,632mm (64.2in) tall, with a wheelbase of 2,680 mm (105.5in). Cargo volume is 455 liters (16 cu ft) but it can extend to 1,542 liters (54.4 cu ft) when the rear seats are folded down.
Next year, three more VW SUVs will go on sale in China, including the T-Cross which will arrive in spring. In 2020 the brand will have at least 12 SUVs on sale in the world’s largest car market.