T-Cross Tries to Triumph Through Three (design) Tactics

Volkswagen’s latest compact crossover comes to life with small but interesting visual differences between its global, Chinese and Latin-American versions

Danillo Almeida
Dec 25, 2018 · 3 min read

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This is how the T-Cross looks like in, respectively, Latin America, China and Europe

Automakers have been toying with the concept of global car for decades. In a few words, it consists of selling a given model in as many countries as possible with as few regional adaptions as possible. The biggest reason why it’s never really worked out is that, well, societies are different. Each country presents a unique condition of culture, economy and politics, so it’s natural that their respective populations have diverse needs. As it turns out, it’s impossible for one car model to sell well literally everywhere.

Reading such strong statements might make you think this idea was already buried for good, right? The truth is… not exactly. The profits it theoretically yields are just too awesome to let go. As a result, makers insist in attempting to find the “perfect” way to differentiate their cars in order to cut production costs without cutting sales numbers as well. The Wolfsburg manufacturer is the latest one to show its work: the T-Cross compact crossover was released in three regional variations which differ by merely cosmetic items.

The Chinese front fascia uses lights and grilles rectangular enough to remind of bigger brother Atlas/Teramont. The lower section is rather tall and sports two thick, matte-silver lines, which makes the car look conservative and very imponent. The rest of the body received lower section in black so as to appear taller. While the front meets VW’s regional goal, it’s easy to notice it looks too heavy for the rest of the car’s appearance. It looks like an adaption designed after the global design was finished, rather than along with it.

Speaking of the global T-Cross, doesn’t it look lighter and sportier? That’s the result of smaller items, more rounded contours and narrower frames working together. This version is focused on Europe, where the car is aimed at young drivers, so it also shows a more colorful body — unpainted trim is much rarer here. One can say this front fascia was directly inspired by the T-Roc’s, which is just a smidge larger. Then again, if you’re familiar with the modern-day Fiat Tipo, it’s difficult to overlook the visual similarities between the two.

After analyzing those two models, it’s easy to think of the Latin-American as the halfway. People from this region enjoy rugged looks but never really do off-road driving with crossovers, so VW decided to merely tweak the global version. Plastic cladding and silver elements appear once again, but both still smaller than the Chinese ones, and there are blackened D-pillars and larger size, suitable to small families. Now, is it a coincidence that this exclusive air intake was chosen to appear in a region where the Tipo isn’t offered?

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Danillo Almeida

Written by

Writer and future engineer striving to work with car design. If you like cars but not the stereotypes that surround them, give my articles a try.

Car Design Chronicles

Automotive styling broken down into short and simple posts, each one based on a recent event of the industry

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