Now That The Beetle’s Gone, The Volkswagen Tarek Crossover Is Gearing Up For Production

It's currently built in China as the 'Tharu'

2021 Volkswagen Tarek
  • Volkswagen rolled the final Beetle off the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico Wednesday.
  • In the Beetle’s place, Volkswagen will build the Tarek crossover instead.
  • The Volkswagen Tarek slots below the larger Tiguan and Atlas.
  • Production is slated to start in 2020, with sales starting in the U.S. by late 2021.

The small crossover will slot below the Tiguan.

This Wednesday, Volkswagen rolled the final Beetle off the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico. In its place, the company plans to tool up to build the Tarek crossover in its place. We learned the Tarek would come to the U.S. market back in May, and Volkswagen de Mexico CEO Steffen Reiche confirmed that the Puebla plant would start production of the new CUV. Volkswagen will build the crossover alongside its larger sibling, the Tiguan.

2021 Volkswagen Tarek

The Puebla assembly plant also builds the current-generation Volkswagen Jetta and the Golf.

Now, the company will start building the Tarek in 2020. We expect it to go on sale from there in North and South America near the end of 2021. Despite its arrival being two years away, the crossover already exists as the Tharu in the Chinese market. This crossover likely won’t make it to the European market, as they already have the Volkswagen T-Roc instead.

Another crossover?

Crossover mania is still in full swing in the United States. Some of the best-selling cars in the country are CUVs like the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V. Volkswagen naturally wants to expand in the market, particularly as smaller crossovers are cropping up to fill out the entire spectrum. Now, most manufacturers have everything from a tiny city runabout to massive, three-row family haulers.

Currently, Volkswagen just sells the compact Tiguan and mid-size Atlas. The Audi brand is much more complete, with the Q3, Q5, Q7 and Q8. So there’s still room for Volkswagen to move, even beyond the Tarek. The company also unveiled a five-seater Atlas Cross Sport, which will sit between the Tiguan and three-row Atlas in the lineup.

In the Chinese market, the Volkswagen Tarek currently uses two engines. The standard powertrain is a 1.2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while a 1.4-liter is optional. Both mate up to the company’s ubiquitous seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Volkswagen has yet to announce which engines the U.S. will get, but we suspect the 1.4-liter engine is the most likely. That engine currently lives in both the Jetta and the Golf, so all the cars at the Puebla plant can use the same engine.

H/T to The Drive and Rob Stumpf for his reporting on this story.