Volkswagen Won't Challenge The Toyota RAV4 Prime

Electric Vehicles / Comments

At least, not right away.

Volkswagen's plans to release an electric vehicle lineup are pretty well documented but as of right now, the German automaker does not have a single electrified model in its lineup. There was a Jetta Hybrid in the lineup until 2016 and of course, the e-Golf, but VW has never offered a plug-in hybrid in the United States.

The company has already been spotted testing a plug-in hybrid Tiguan that will coincide with the upcoming Tiguan facelift. But speaking with VW's Head of Product Marketing, Dr. Hendrik Muth, it seems unlikely that the Tiguan PHEV will be brought to the US market. At least, not right away.

Volkswagen AG

When we asked if it would make sense to offer the Volkswagen Tiguan as a PHEV in the US, Muth answered, "we are looking at, particularly for the successor version on the Tiguan, other potential engine variants. I think one of the things that we're obviously very conscious of is cost and retail pricing. We are obviously aware that this [the US] is a very, very, very sensitive price market." This argument is similar to the company's claims about expanding the R portfolio in the US. If the models are priced too highly, American consumers won't want to buy them.

Where the US-spec Tiguan is built may pose yet another problem for the PHEV's viability in the US. "Our vehicles are obviously also produced at Pueblo [Mexico], which today doesn't produce any vehicles with a PHEV," Muth explained. "That is something that we are looking at and something that may be potential for the successor or the Tiguan but for the facelifted version, we weren't planning a hybrid version."

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VW doesn't appear to be interested in competing with the recently-revealed Toyota RAV4 Prime, which will be the most powerful RAV4 ever with 302 horsepower. On the bright side, VW seems to be keen on a more high-performance version of the Tiguan, whether it be called an R or a GTI. "We are always looking at finding ways and means of finding more fuel-efficient engine options, and yes, with more horsepower," said Muth.

VW has been spotted testing what appears to be a Tiguan R around the Nurburgring, which means a high-performance model is likely coming. A VW spokesperson later told CarBuzz, "We want to enrich the Tiguan's line-up with a performance version. Please understand that we will talk about that at a later point."

2016-2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Front Angle View Volkswagen
2016-2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Rear View Driving Volkswagen

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