Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid: You’ve Got To Be Kidding

The folks at Volkswagen continue to confuse us with products that just don’t make sense from any angle.

Consider the 2011 Touareg Hybrid, with a base price over $60,565 and EPA estimated mileage at 20/24. Really? That’s $12,615 MORE than the base price of the TDI version, which by the way has EPA estimated mileage at 19/28.

But wait a minute, why am I even bothering to compare these two overpriced Volkswagen SUV boat anchors? Who’s going to buy a $60,000 Volkswagen, let alone one that costs almost $50,000? (OK, I guess there WILL be a few poor bastards out there that’ll be snookered by a slick sales pitch for “German engineering”...)

Volkswagen announced their sales goal of 800,000 vehicles in the US by 2018. That’s a long ways off, but right now it looks like VW’s product strategy is a long ways off as well. On one hand they’re stripping cost out of their base model bread and butter cars, and arguably quality (DRUM BRAKES on the base model Jetta, guys? Hello...) . On the other hand they’re offering this ridiculously expensive, out of touch with the market, Touareg Hybrid. Note that Volkswagen’s acknowledged target, Toyota, offers the similarly sized Highlander Hybrid with a base price of $37,490, and an EPA estimated 28/28. And despite recent recall issues, Toyota STILL maintains a reputation for quality, while Volkswagen does not.

The Touareg model lineup has never sold well here in the US, yet Volkswagen is building very cool cars for other world markets that would probably sell very well here; the sporty Scirocco III, the super-mini Polo Mk5 or the Sharan, a minivan that’s a little smaller than your typical American minivan. And didn’t Volkswagen learn anything from the Phaeton debacle in the early 2000’s...but wait, I hear that they’re bringing THAT back too...

Volkswagen hasn’t had a good read on the US market for years. Sure they’ve had a winner here and there, but overall their sales and US product have been mediocre at best since the early 1970’s. Can Volkswagen pull it’s head out of it’s backside in time to produce cars that hit the mark here in the US and meet it’s 2018 sales goals?

Time will tell.