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Beijing show: Volkswagen Touareg to arrive early 2019

Show and tell: VW has released a sketch of the next-gen Touareg ahead of its reveal at next month’s Beijing show.

Touareg to follow Tiguan Allspace, beat Atlas to Volkswagen dealers

12 Feb 2018

VOLKSWAGEN Group Australia (VGA) has confirmed its next-generation Touareg will land in early 2019, but it will continue as a five-seat and premium-priced model that will arrive before a potentially more affordable seven-seat entrant.

The first sketch of the third-generation Touareg has been released ahead of a global unveiling set for March 23 at the Beijing motor show – China is the largest market for the model – most prominently revealing a defined side character crease and front guard vent absent from the current SUV.

Volkswagen has outlined three main advancements for the its next-generation model, including innovative assistance systems, “one of the largest digital cockpits in its class” called the Innovision Cockpit that makes it a “driving internet node”, plus air suspension, rear-wheel steering and roll stabilisation for enhanced dynamics.

Based on the MLB platform that underpins the latest Audi Q7 (and right down to the A4 and A7 passenger cars), it was all but confirmed the Touareg would use the 48-volt electrical system of its Ingolstadt sibling given that it has powered the rear-wheel steering and active anti-roll bars in that model.

It was also the first time Volkswagen has referenced an Innovision Cockpit that is expected to be a larger derivation of the Active Info Display standard on other models such as the Golf, Passat and Tiguan.

Although the Touareg contributed just 1612 sales to VGA’s 58,004-unit haul in 2017, while being outsold two-to-one by the seven-seat BMW X5 and 10-to-one by the cheaper Toyota Kluger, it has been confirmed that there are no plans in offer a seven-seat version or change its positioning in Australia.

Speaking with GoAuto at the national media launch of the Golf GTI Original in the New South Wales Southern Highlands last week, VGA general manager of product and marketing Ben Wilks told GoAuto that the next Touareg would continue with its current pricing structure and flagship market positioning.

“On Touareg I think we are reasonably confident that (it will arrive) early 2019,” he began.

“No, it won’t be a seven seat. So a five seat, (but) Touareg’s an interesting one actually. It sells itself in terms of touring and towing. I think the Touaregs, they’re very nice, at the premium end of our range with the Arteon also. I think that that position probably works for us at the premium end of our range.

“We had a great start to the year with Touareg. I think we are up 17 per cent year-on-year for January, which is encouraging. There’s still a lot of potential in that model and in that position overall. As I say, people seem to value the Touareg especially for its towing ability, 3.5 tonne, and it’s touring ability.”

Mr Wilks recognised that many Australian buyers wanted a three-row large SUV, however, but he admitted that the launch of the Tiguan Allspace seven-seat medium SUV in the third quarter of 2018 would have to suffice until a business plan for the US-based, left-hand drive Atlas/Teramont was approved by 2020.

“Obviously we’ve got the seven-seat Tiguan Allspace, which gives us an introduction to that market, and then of course we might have the Atlas, or the Teramont as it is called in export markets,” he continued.

“It’s a fabulous product, it is only built in left-hand drive at the moment, but that’s one that we continue to have our hand up for and we’ll build a case particularly with the other right-hand-drive markets, the issue being that the UK don’t see such a market as what we do, and so we need to work on that.

“But I think there’s a great opportunity for that car, (however) it won’t be in 2019. But that’s another part of our SUV range that we would ultimately like to fill. In the meantime, though, Tiguan Allspace gives us a big opportunity in that seven-seat area.”

By 2020, it means VGA would have at least one small SUV, the T-Cross, plus the Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace, Atlas/Teramont and Touareg filling its SUV line-up, which would more than double the number of its current offerings.

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