Perhaps it’s just residual love of the Jetta and Passat that is causing this sales upswing for the 2012 Tiguan but we are happy to see that VW isn’t in another one of its depressed states, sitting at home crying while eating tub after tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Rather, VW has very aggressive sales goals set for the North American market with growth expected to surpass 300,000 units this year and 800,000 units shifted as (you read that right) the goal set by headquarters in Germany by 2018.
One way that VW is planning to tackle this sales growth - besides introducing more affordable models designed with our tastes in mind - is that there will soon be a surge in the number of dealerships in this country. Currently Volkswagen only has 588 dealers, as opposed to Nissan which has over 1,100 in the U.S.A. Prior to this, Volkswagen’s sales record stood at 600,000 units sold but that was back in its heyday in 1970.
The 2012 VW Tiguan is a nimble, fun to drive, fast, luxurious-feeling and seemingly well-built entry into the compact SUV class. But it isn’t going to get Volkswagen its desired sales growth in its current guise as it was rather obviously designed for European markets and we think really misses a beat by lacking a double clutch automatic with the 2.0 liter turbocharged engine as in the GTI and by not offering a TDI diesel variant.
VW does currently offer the Tiguan with its 2.0 liter TDI motor available in models like the Golf, Jetta, Jetta Sportswagen and Passat in most other markets so we wonder why they would overlook a way to really differentiate their compact SUV in the marketplace. Bottom line: we really enjoyed our time with the 2012 VW Tiguan and feel it definitely deserves a test drive by any compact SUV shopper, but small niggles keep it from standing out as best-in-class.