• Apr 3rd 2010 at 8:43AM
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2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

We had the opportunity to chat about the new Touareg with Volkswagen of America communications director Steve Keyes at the New York Auto Show this week. The all-new and much lighter second-generation Touareg debuted last month in Geneva with VW's first production hybrid drivetrain. Shortly after the Touareg debuted, we learned that the price in Germany would be some €23,000 more than the 3.0-liter V6 TDI model. Clearly that doesn't bode well for sales of the hybrid.

According to Keyes, the Touareg U.S. price won't be announced until closer to the on-sale date here this fall. He did acknowledge that the price premium would not be nearly as large as it is in Europe. This makes sense, since that kind of pricing would clearly be commercial suicide (our description, not Keyes). Since the Touareg TDI V6 went on sale last year, it has captured an increasingly large share of the sales for VW's big SUV. Keyes tells us that the TDI currently accounts for about half of all Touareg sales and he expects that share to remain consistent when the new version arrives. As for the hybrid, Keyes expects it to capture about five percent of Touareg sales.

Live photos by Frank Filipponio / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Volkswagen]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      VW to focus on diesel? No surprise there.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Don't use VW as an example for hybrid vehicles since they can make more money on diesels so they're not really interested yet in hybrid sales.
      Instead look at Lexus RX450h. The premium there is exactly $5K and most will recapture that extra cost within 5-7 years due to fuel savings. And that will change if gas prices go up in the US. So if you really don't care for environment you still can care for the money...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Since most Lexus cars including their hybrids are leased, and leases are usually under 4 years the savings you mention are not a factor. As for the idea car companies "should" sell stripper hybrids, that makes no financial sense. How many base Fusion S cars does Ford sell? My guess very few.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's strange; all of these foreign Eco-snobs are always complaining that the
      United States needs to do more to avert a planetary disaster, and want
      the American taxpayer to set up a fund because of our environmental
      negligence and transgressions so that they can rape our economy. These
      green-wash hypocrites need to stop and look in the mirror before they try to
      put their hands in our pockets. The United States has done plenty that their
      nations have never attempted to do, and they diss us. I'm tired of it.

      There's more pollution in Europe, Asia and the Southern Hemisphere than
      there is in this country. Damn it; let them pay their own way instead of trying
      to put a guilt-trip over on us. Taxes are already heading too far north of the

      And KYOTO, for Pete's sake. Clean up Tokyo, before you want us to bow
      in Kyoto!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes the US is getting better (slightly) but there is still a long way to go, dude
        I know US is bigger than many countries, but even per capita, numbers are pretty high...

        Now before talking about hybrid on huge useless SUV, maybe we can start using smaller cars that can be just as safe, much more fuel efficient with today (or even yesterday's!) technology. I'm a bit pi***d off when I hear people claming they are eco friendly, doing 30mpg when i've done much better for years with a just regular small car...

        That doesn't mean we don't have to embrace new technologies, but that means that with a bit of humility and reason many can divide by 2 their co2 emissions.

        The USA emits twice as much co2 (per capita) as EU and there is no more hybrids or electric cars there! Just smaller displacement engines, on smaller cars, maybe better public transports, or more carpooling ... That can't be that hard to reproduce !
      • 5 Years Ago
      VW don't care about innovation they just care about selling more diesels. They will be the last to produce an EV or similar. The Germans are great engineers, it is such a pity they can't produce a good EV.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The high prices for economic and environmental friendly technology is detrimental to consumer acceptance. The typical story applies here as always; what came first? The chicken or the egg. The manufacturers excuse is "we've made an attempt but our product was refused from the consumer". So we'll just have to proceed the old fashioned way.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hybrids are not statements - they are cost-effective over the life of the vehicle. The problem is that automakers insist on piling up extra features that are not essential to the hybrid powertrain, then mark them up like hell.

        Read the Union of Concerned Scientists report. All automakers do it - the true markup, once the extra features are removed so that the hybrid model is equipped the same as the base model, averages less than $3k! But, the Fusion S starts at $20k, while the Fusion hybrid starts at $29k. There's no economic, manufacturing nor marketing excuse for that stunt.

        As I've said on a previous blog entry, if hybrids were treated as powertrain options, just like choosing between an I4, or a V6 or V8, then more people could, and would, buy them. Additionally, the total cost of ownership would be made up over significantly fewer miles driven due to gas savings. Imagine a Fusion S, with a hybrid powertrain, only costing $23k. How many more buyers do you think there would be for a hybrid Fusion? Lots more.

        Look at the 2010 Prius - they are exploding out of the woodwork! There's more and more every day on the roads where I live. Why? Base price: around $22k for a 50mpg+ hybrid. There's no excuse for Ford to not do the same, as I've proposed above regarding the Fusion. Ford has a long, solid history of highly reliable and efficient hybrids. Taxi companies and fleets have driven thousands of Escape hybrids well over 300,000 over the last 5 years, and then replaced them with new Escape hybrids. If that's not a genuine endorsement of the integrity and payoff of the hybrid powertrain, then what is?

        I'm fortunate enough to be able to afford the unnecessary markup and am a proud owner of a 2010 Mariner hybrid. After a month, I'm averaging 38.3 mpg! No SUV of any size, of any fuel, gets that kind of mileage. That's a miracle, as far as I'm concerned. That beats the vehicle I traded in: 2004 Scion xA. I got 36.7mpg out of it over the 24,000 miles that I drove it.

        Also, when you compare parallel hybrids, like Ford's, to their non-hybrid siblings, you need to look at the performance. My Mariner hybrid does VERY well when merging or avoiding a hazard - just as much as, and even better than, the 3.0L V6 Escape, which I drove as a loaner for a day while the Mariner was being delivered. So, if you truly want to compare what you're getting in the hybrid, the comparisons should be made with respect to the base V6, not the base I4. Naturally, hybrids are even more cost-effective in that comparison, because the MSRPs are closer, and the mileage of the V6 is worse than the I4.

        I'm surprised that, even on this website, hybrids are automatically written off as "statements" rather than good sense, as long as you can afford the automaker's markup. I don't blame anyone that can't afford them. Even the Mariner pushed me at $30k MSRP, and I make good money.

        Finally, there is something called stewardship, which is completely lost in this Reaganomic generation. Using less fuel, no wasteful idling, etc., is priceless. I consider the automaker's loading of hybrids a crime, in this respect. This technology, including advancing to serial hybrids (Volt) and EVs (Leaf), is a responsibility of the automakers, not a market strategy or something to lobby against.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If "caring for the environment" makes you feel better, it makes sense for you to pay a premium. Just make sure you specify the extra large "hybrid" signs :-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Diesels are very durable, dependable engines which are going to dominate fuel mileage statistics. They are still developing. At this point in time, you can use less oil, and produce less CO2 with a diesel at a fairly reasonable price, and if you have to replace the battery it's about a hundred bucks. Is anyone having a problem understanding why they are popular?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't smell anything. Sounds like you have a car you like a lot. Good for you and Ford. Now if they will produce a diesel Mariner, they may get my attention.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes - they stink. Even the modern ones I can smell several car lengths behind them. I can smell them before I see the badge on the back of the vehicle.

        Additionally, they need extra exhaust treatments, in addition to the catalytic, because of all the nasty byproducts in the exhaust.

        The only good things about diesels is their superior mpg and low-end torque for a given displacement compared to gasoline ICE. After that, I'm not impressed. If they used diesels at fixed rpms in a series hybrid, then I would consider buying an SUV so equipped. In the meantime, I'm quite content with my 2010 Mercury Mariner hybrid. 38.3 mpg after a month's driving, and it's not even warm weather yet (the cold knocks off an mpg or two, based upon a friend's results with her 2009 Escape hybrid, I'm assuming due to the NiMH battery sensitivity).
        • 5 Years Ago
        You, like myself, have to be practical, and evaluate the alternatives. I like your choice. One wonders, however, what will be available next year and the year after. In the long term greener solutions are cheaper, but it has to be an evolutionary process of incremental change. We will get there, but not in one year or probably one decade. We need an energy policy. As far as I can tell we really don't have one yet.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh, diesels aren't alone - I can smell a gas vehicle before I see or hear it, like motorcycles, late 80s and early 90s gas vehicles of just about any make and model - or any gas car that is poorly maintained or before the catalytic warms up (which is really nasty in parking garages, etc.).

        There is no good solution, really, aside from no ICE at all. I just chose what, from my experience, was the least of the evils (and in my price range - I won't be signing up for a Tesla Model S anytime soon, and the rest don't have the range I rely upon).
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