Don't look for a 2018 Volkswagen Touareg if you're in the market for a new car next year. You won't find one, at least in the U.S.
After a decade of slow sales, VW's American-market arm has confirmed that it will drop the high-end Touareg crossover SUV from its lineup after the 2017 model year. Through the first six months of 2017, VW dealers have delivered a mere 1,630 Touaregs, representing a 26 percent decline from last year. Those are pitifully low figures in a market that's crazy about crossovers and SUVs.
VW first launched the Touareg to much critical acclaim for 2004, but it has remained an oddball in VW's lineup. The first iteration was highly sophisticated with numerous luxury and convenience features never before seen in a VW, like a height-adjustable air suspension, a turbodiesel V-10 engine, and acres of fine leather. With a price tag to match, it never succeeded in luring luxury SUV shoppers en masse.
A redesign a few years later simplified the range and brought its price down considerably, but the Touareg's price point and positioning remains more in line with Mercedes-Benz and BMW crossovers than the mass-market brands VW has historically competed against. The 2017 Touareg starts at $50,405, but a fully loaded model tops out well over $60,000.
The nail in the Touareg's coffin seems to be the automaker's new, three-row Atlas. Starting around $20,000 less than an entry-level Touareg, the Atlas was only in dealers for a few weeks before its sales eclipsed the Touareg's year-to-date figures.
An all-new Touareg is around the corner for certain global markets, but VW won't say if it has been earmarked for American buyers.