At this current juncture in history, Americans cannot get enough of the large SUVs. They have become more precious to us than food, or air, or the well-being of our pets and children. There is one glaring exception to this trend: the Volkswagen Touareg, which is too small and too expensive to be a real competitor. And so it is dead in America.
This news comes to us from Motor Trend, which indicates that while the Touareg will exist in other markets it will cease to be sold in the U.S. after 2017.
It’s kind of sad—I guess?—because the Touareg was something of an interesting SUV. At least it was at first. The first generation went onsale in America in 2004, and was closely related to the Porsche Cayenne, which meant it offered decent engines and was even capable off-road. Best of all, for a time it offered a V10 TDI diesel engine, a beast of a motor that could shame American pickups in truck pulls.
But the Touareg arose from that period when Volkswagen thought it could move upmarket and compete with Mercedes and BMW, so it was expensive. (Having Porsche underpinnings didn’t help there.) A more realistic second generation version arrived in 2010, but it had the same problem of being too pricey and too small for most American buyers’ needs. It lacked that one crucial feature for the big SUV segment that we need—a third row of seats. Sales were, as a result, bad. Guess how many VW moved last month, amid this SUV boom? Just 386 in June, which is better than the rest of the year, when sales hovered above 200 or so a month.
In fact, it’s the reason we have the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas right now. VW thinks it’s exactly what Americans want: huge, cheap, not a diesel, and designed to look almost exactly like a Jeep Grand Cherokee. With the Atlas poised to give VW the SUV sales numbers it so desperately craves, the Touareg makes less sense on our shores.
Plus, as Motor Trend notes, the Volkswagen Tiguan is now bigger as well, which should help VW cover the spread a bit better.
See you at the crossroads, Touareg. You and your giant 10-cylinder diesel engine were just too weird and costly to make it.