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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Volkswagen’s small bakkie and SUV a step closer thanks to Brazil

South American nation's shared vision of the mentioned models with South Africa seems almost certain following the latter's maiden Indaba this week.

Volkswagen’s much speculated third model, earmarked for local production in 2026 or 2027, has started taking shape after Wolfsburg’s Brazilian division announced a substantial investment into its South American operations earlier this month.


Valued at a reported R $9-billion, which amounts to a directly converted R34.2-billion, the investment into Volkswagen’s main plants in Brazil will result in the introduction of 16 new or updated products by 2028, one being a new small SUV and the other the long overdue replacement for the aged Saveiro half-ton bakkie.

ALSO READ: Volkswagen details 2024 product roll-out and future of Polo

Reiterating at its maiden product Indaba this week that the mystery model it plans on building will be an SUV based on the same MQB A0 platform as the current Polo and Polo Vivo, Volkswagen South Africa Managing Director, Martina Biene, said the newcomer will be positioned below the T-Cross, whose production run is expected to end in 2025 in preparation for the debut of the all-electric ID.2all SUV the following year.

Volkswagen starts teasing ID.2all SUV
Facelift T-Cross arrives in the second quarter of 2024, although by 2025, it will no longer be Volkswagen’s smallest SUV. Image: Volkswagen

In an apparent correlation of Biene’s comments, motor1.com Brazil reports the unnamed SUV, once in production, will be stationed below the Nivus and by likely extension the T-Cross – the former sold in South Africa as the subtly updated Taigo made in Spain rather than in Brazil.

Also expected to debut in the South American nation around the same time as in South Africa, the report further alleges motivation as being provided by the 1.0 TSI engine, transmission options comprising a manual or automatic – possibly a DSG – and dimensions well below the Nivus’ 4 266 mm overall length.

That bakkie

At the other end of scale, motor1.com’s claims around the arrival of the Saveiro’s replacement also mirrors Biene’s comments of its riding on the same platform as the new SUV and Polo.

Updated Volkswagen Saveiro revealed in Brazil
Restyled for the third time last year, the now 15-year old Volkswagen Saveiro appears all but certain to remain in South America until its production cycle finishes. Image: motor1.com Brazil.

While South African introduction appears anything but certain, for Brazil, the new half-ton will switch focus in being aimed towards the Chevrolet Montana and Fiat Toro rather than the Strada positioned below the latter.

It, therefore, means that differences from the much delayed Tarok Concept are expected, though remains to be seen whether its status as a world model, announced at its debut in 2018, will still apply.

Volkswagen Tarok cancelled again
Concept Volkswagen Tarok will finally enter production within the next few year, however, the production model looks set to be slightly different. Image: motor1.com Brazil

Reported last year as finally entering production at the General Pacheco Plant in Argentina that also assembles the Taos SUV and previous generation Amarok, the Tarok project officially moved to Brazil as part of the investment announcement due to the incoming updated version of the latter taking preference.

A model that attracted attention locally after Biene remarked in an interview to Engineering News at the beginning of last year that the SUV could spawn a small bakkie, the executive added further fuel to fire by reiterating that a replacement for the erstwhile Caddy Pick-Up could become a reality once production of the “third model” starts in 2026.

Prepare for more soon

For the moment though little else is known and while Volkswagen South Africa, now rebranded as Volkswagen Group Africa, has set its sights on the SUV in readiness for it becoming the only division to assemble the Polo globally from June this year, don’t be surprised if clearer details from Brazil does emerge over the next few months.

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