With the last Volkswagen Beetle rolling off the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico, earlier this week, the German automaker prepares to take a moment of silence while it retools the plant for its newest offering: the Tarek crossover.
On Wednesday, Volkswagen de Mexico CEO Steffen Reiche confirmed that Beetle’s spot on the assembly line will be replaced by the Tarek, a small compact crossover which is expected to slot into Volkswagen’s lineup just underneath of another CUV assembled at the plant; the Tiguan. Employees at Volkswagen’s Puebla facility also assemble the current generation Jetta and Golf.
Production of the Tarek is said to begin in 2020, with sales starting near the end of 2021 in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil.
The Tarek is reportedly presently sold in China under the name Tharu and is based on the same modular MQB platform which makes up the underpinnings of the larger Atlas and Tiguan models. The international model features a 1.2-liter and optional 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder engine mated to one of the automaker’s fantastic seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions, though the options which will be made available on the North American models have not yet been announced.
It appears that the Tarek may be the mysterious “Volks-SUV”, a vehicle which has been teased for both the Chinese and North American markets over the past year in place of the compact T-Roc.
But never fear—in a crossover-crazed United States, VW has eyes set on working even more CUV options into its lineup. One particular example is the Atlas Cross Sport, a two-row, five-seater variant of Volkswagen’s top-tier Atlas; a vehicle which will join its big brother on the same assembly line north of the border and assembled at the automaker’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee later this year.
We reached out to VW for official comment and will update the story when we hear back.