VW to expand crossover line up with Tharu
On September 29, Volkswagen Philippines will be launching the all-new Tharu into the market.
The Tharu is a compact crossover SUV that is known as the Volkswagen Taos in other regions like North America and Europe . The reason for the difference in name is because it is made by SAIC-VW and imported by Volkswagen Philippines.
Positioning-wise, this is larger than the T-Cross but smaller than the Tiguan. Size-wise, it is similar to the Toyota Corolla Cross and bigger than Honda HR-V.
Volkswagen says they will offer two variants of the Tharu. The Volkswagen Tharu 300 TSI DSG SE will be the starting variant, while the top of the line model will be the Tharu 300 TSI DSG SEL. Volkswagen says they will offer the Tharu with a set of “nifty and convenience features” for customers. The vehicle will have adaptive matrix LED headlights, a panoramic glass roof, a virtual pedal tailgate, intelligent park assist and more.
But what has us scratching our heads is the price they are offering the Tharu for, as the vehicle will start at about PHP 1.8 million for the Tharu 300 TSI DSG SE while the Tharu 300 TSI DSG SEL will be at about PHP 1.95 million.
We have been noting a trend with the pricing of VW’s models in the Philippines vis-à-vis their competitors. To put that price in perspective, the directly competing Toyota Corolla Cross starts at PHP 1.3 million while the hybrid variant is at PHP 1.68 million. VW’s pricing for the Tharu runs counter to advantage of sourcing a car from a JV in China that are typically far more attractive when you start looking at the SRP. For instance, the much larger Ford Territory (also made in China) starts at PHP 1.335 million, while the top of the line Territory Titanium X with all the bells and whistles is at PHP 1.599 million.
If we were to wager a guess, it might be because Volkswagen Philippines may not be bringing a 1.5L version (which would have minimal import duty). Instead, they could be looking at the 2.0L turbo petrol version which would pay the standard 30% duty. They never published the engine displacement in their press releases, and the number 300 in the variant name may be the indicator of that.
If they did opt for the larger 2.0L then the pricing would make a bit more sense given the import duty, but it’ll have a challenging time competing against established models already. If it is a 1.5L turbo, then we would be even more confused at the pricing.
If you’re asking the same questions we are, visit the Volkswagen Tharu at Karrera Café in Alabang on September 30 and October 1.