Volkswagen will cease production of the T-Roc cabriolet in 2025, ending a 75-year tradition of internal-combustion-engine-powered convertible models at the German automaker.
The move, confirmed by the company’s development boss Kai Gruenitz, comes as VW shifts its future model development activities away from traditional ICE models to new electric-powered models.
The T-Roc Cabriolet, introduced to selected global markets in 2020, was developed as an indirect replacement for the long-running Golf Cabriolet. Facelifted in 2023, it is currently sold with the choice of two gasoline engine options: a 110-hp turbocharged 1.0L 3-cyl. and a more powerful 150-hp turbocharged 1.5L 4-cyl.
With the planned start of production of the second-generation T-Roc in 2025, VW no longer plans to offer a cabriolet version of the MQB-platform-based crossover model.
VW’s decision to axe its single remaining convertible model has been made against a backdrop of sinking sales for cabriolets and roadsters in all key global markets.
Gruenitz won’t say whether VW is planning an electric-powered cabriolet but suggests the future priority for the company is volume market segments, in particular sedans, CUVs and SUVs.
The first VW cabriolet, the Beetle, was produced in 1949 by German coach builder Karmann at its plant in Osnabrück, Germany. It remained in production over several model generations until 1980.
Karmann also produced the VW Ghia Cabriolet (pictured, below) from 1957 to 1974.
The first Golf Cabriolet went into production in 1979. It was produced over 14 years up to 1993. VW followed it up with a cabriolet version of the third-generation Golf from 1993 to 1998.
Cabriolet versions of the fourth-generation Golf and sixth-generation Golf were produced between 1998 and 2002 and 2011 and 2016, respectively.
Overall, more than 770,000 Golf cabriolets were produced over a 37-year period – all at the Karmann plant in Osnabrück, which recently ceased production of the Porsche Boxster.
The Volkswagen Group purchased assets of Karmann, including its Osnabrück factory, after its bankruptcy in 2010.
Additional VW cabriolet models include the New Beetle Cabriolet, which was produced between 2003 and 2010 in Puebla, Mexico, and the Eos, produced between 2006 and 2015 in Palmela, Portugal.
The existing T-Roc Cabriolet has been produced since 2019 at the former Karmann factory in Osnabrück.
Apart from its iconic open-top, Beetle-based Beach Buggy, VW also has produced soft-top military vehicles, including the Type 181 between 1969 and 1980, and the Type 183 from 1978 to 1988.
It also has been involved in the licensing of components for the production of cabriolets by other brands, including Italian-based company ACM, which produced a cabriolet version of the Golf Cross Country under the name Biagini Passo between 1990 and 1993.