Perhaps recent travel restrictions have made some folks in Germany and Europe realize that traveling locally can be safe and just as appealing as travel abroad. Maybe they want to amplify their daily commute to get the most out of life (when the weather is nice.) Whatever it is, the convertible VW T-Roc has surprisingly accounted for over 28 percent of the model’s sales so far this year.
The T-Roc Cabriolet certainly offers a slightly more practical and extremely unique model that enhances the driving experience with its top down. Plus, it’s probably still fairly easy to maneuver and park on Europe’s traditionally tight city centers.
Something clicked with European and particularly German car shoppers and the funky T-Roc Cabriolet. The cabrio model accounted for 8,631 sales from January to May 2021, out of a total of 29,973 sales for the T-Roc model line in the same period, which would be a 28.8 and 71.2 percentage split, respectively, according to KBA data shared with Jalopnik by Schmidt Automotive Research as a follow-up to this:
By comparison, the current Mini Cooper Convertible suffered a 14 percent drop in sales between 2016 and 2019, and last year it was reported the current model would not get a direct replacement anytime soon, according to Automotive News citing supplier sources.
Sales were obviously low in 2020 due to the state of the world but have surged back dramatically this year, though it may not be enough. So as the Mini Convertible potentially dies with around 30,000 global sales reported in 2019, the T-Roc is now off to a promising start.
We covered how many convertibles in Europe and the U.S. have bit the dust in the last decade earlier this week, and the compact VW Eos convertible coupe was one of them (at least stateside). This T-Roc is essentially that very car on a crossover platform.
The base T-Roc Cabriolet launched at €27,495 in Europe, offering a base gas 1.0-liter TSI OPF gas engine making 114 horsepower, or an upgraded 1.5-liter TSI ACT OPF gas engine making about 154 HP. Inside, there’s still just over 10 cubic feet of cargo volume with the top down, which can go down in nine seconds at speeds up to 18 mph.
Underneath the drop-top, the T-Roc cabriolet is a perfectly suitable compact hatchback that happens to be German-made. Naturally it would do well in its home country and the cities of Europe, though it is notably 34 mm, or 1.3 inches longer than the standard model.
Other changes over the standard T-Roc include additional rear struts on the left and right wheel housings between the B-pillar, lateral floor rails for improved structural rigidity without the roof, a doubled rear floor panel, and the rollover protection struts that are only activated behind the seats in the event of a crash.
It’s also notable that only the T-Roc Cabriolet is made in Germany, and the rest of the T-Roc lineup is assembled in China and Portugal. Strong sales of this niche model probably helps justify that otherwise dramatic geographic gap in the model’s production cycle.
Schmidt Automotive Research analyst Matthias Schmidt told Jalopnik the strong sales success of the T-Roc Cabriolet so far could be some past owners of compact cabriolets seeking a similar new ride and not having many new options. It’s possible owners also appreciate the additional ride height that makes getting in and out that much easier.
Personally, I think everybody just misses the days of the original VW Golf Cabriolet (which is what this should be!) and the VW Golf Country 4WD.