Last week, Volkswagen Philippines released a teaser video of a new model coming soon. Actually, it was barely a video, as it was just a slightly animated version of a photo; a GIF, practically.
Nevertheless, it will be a very important vehicle for Volkswagen Philippines as it will be a crossover, and a small one at that: the T-Cross... or at least it appears to be. The vehicle is smaller than a Tiguan, meaning it will compete against similarly sized subcompact crossovers.
After speaking with our contacts, there are two details we can talk about: the first is the name of the model and the second is the pricing strategy.
If you're familiar with Volkswagen's operations, then you'll know that the nameplates offered in the Philippine market are from SAIC-VW; one of Volkswagen's joint ventures in China, the other being FAW-VW. And that in itself makes the naming unclear because there are two derivatives of the T-Cross in China: one is called T-Cross while the other is Tacqua. Both vehicles are practically the same, just different in name.
After checking the teaser image more closely, by our eye it really is T-Cross given the design of the wheels, the details of the taillights, as well as the shape of the black portion of the front bumper. The Tacqua would not have matched the image. That was also something confirmed to us by our sources, and that also means this will be a somewhat more familiar nameplate to VW customers as it is also offered in other markets like Europe.
The second -and perhaps more important detail- is the pricing strategy: our contacts indicate that Volkswagen Philippines is targeting an SRP of PHP 1.1 million for the entry grade model, and upwards of PHP 1.25 million for the higher grade model. That would mean it would directly compete against the Geely Coolray and undercut models like the Honda HR-V, Toyota Corolla Cross, among others.
There's a caveat though: we're unsure if that target pricing is already inclusive of the DTI's safeguard bonds against imported vehicles. Being that the T-Cross would be classified as a passenger vehicle imported from China, it would be slapped with a PHP 70,000 safeguard (SG) bond. If the PHP 1.1 to 1.25 million prices are already inclusive of such a bond, then that would be quite competitive once the rest of the competitors raise their prices to account for the SG. If the price range is still exclusive of the SG, then we'll have to wait and see.
As for what variants and features we can expect, it's still unclear. SAIC-VW offers two distinct engines for the T-Cross: the first is a 1.5-liter non-turbo with a 6-speed automatic, while the other is a 1.4-liter turbo (TFSI) with a 7-speed DSG. Both models could be imported into the country to take advantage of the FTA.
It would be interesting if VW Philippines offered the 1.5L as the base model with the 1.4L TFSI as the top-spec model, but that may be wishful thinking on our part. It is highly likely that VW Philippines will sell the T-Cross with just the non-turbo 1.5L.