The last time I checked Volkswagen was a mass auto producer, and you would think they would want to sell vehicles not price them so high that the Touareg goes against Mercedes-Benz ml class, bmw x5, and Acura Mdx. If they want to increase their market share in the U.S. market they need to have vehicles that compete technology, and price wise. I know Volkswagen is comepting technology wise but not price wise. When the Microbus debuts will it be charged so high that they cant reach their own expectations for sales. I think that the microbus and the touareg could both sell well here but they need to priced correctly. I' am aware that Volkswagen is trying to go upscale but they cant forget about the lower priced segments trying to go their. I heard somewhere that they wanted to reach 500,000 in sales by 2005 how are they going to get their with prices like these. Vw has always been high priced, and I think you get alot for the price but to end it somewhere.
If you look at the competition, most 4WD mid-sized luxury SUV's are priced from the low to mid 30's, including the Honda Pilot, Acura MDX, Jeep Grand Cherokee LTD, Ford Explorer EB, and a host of others. Given the level of sophistication here, I don't think an estimated $35K starting point is out of the question. Given something like the 10cyl TDI, I'd pay a premium over these prices, and I think others will, as well.
I think Jamie indicated that the TDI would be coming this way in the 2nd year of
production...Disappointing, but I believe this has something to do with Fed Law Changes regarding Diesel #2 Fuel and cleaning up as it is in Europe and the fact that Diesel truck emissions are different than passenger cars... The performance level of diesels in Europe is fantastic. Those engines don't work over here on our lousy high-sulfur fuel. The trucking lobby has managed to stall requirements for better diesel fuel for years and it's only now starting to happen.
Personally, I'd love to own a turbodiesel-powered SUV. Great mix of fuel economy, torque for towing, and durability. Rumor has it that Dodge is planning to put a Cummins in their Durango soon. Toyota has always had a really strong diesel in the Land Cruiser but it doesn't get imported to North America.
I would not hesitate to buy the diesel version, those 550lbs/ft of torque coupled with those sweet European diesel engines are a deligth. A few months ago I had the opportunity to observe in person an ML400 cdi, at first I tought it was some kind of turbine experimental vehicle, the engine only made a soft whine type of noise, even at iddle, not that clackiting rattling can full of marbles sound typical of US diesels. Maybe most American still have in their memories the old smoky diesels of the 80's, but that is history, a new generation of common rail and pre-combustion chambers, ligth weigth, all aluminum, high rpm, along with many other improvements has emerged in Europe that rival gasoline engines in smoothness and acceleration plus the high torque and long life of a diesel, to the point that in some European countries diesel engines account for 40% of new sales, while diesel engines here remain the same old archaic, heavy weigth brute engine.
Because of the deplorable diesel in this country we have to miss the opportunity to choose from one of those diesel engines, I say lets give the diesel clean up project to the snails and we may speed up things.