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Volkswagen Launches First-Ever SUV - Touareg Offers High-Level Luxury, Off-Road Tenacity, Debuts in Showrooms, Living Rooms Nationwide


AUBURN HILLS, Mich., June 23 -- Volkswagen of America, Inc., the automaker known for passenger cars, today begins delivery of its first ever SUV, the all-new Touareg, to dealerships across the country. The highly anticipated SUV marks a milestone for the German automaker in the U.S. market and promises to set a new segment standard with its unique combination of true off-road ability and German-engineered luxury.

The 2004 Volkswagen Touareg, pronounced "Tour-regg," is available in two initial versions -- one model equipped with a 3.2-liter, 220 horsepower V6 engine and another with a 4.2-liter, 310 horsepower V8.

Debuting as the most affordable and best-equipped German SUV sold in North America, Touareg pricing starts at $34,900 for the V6 model and $40,700 for the V8 model in the U.S.

In keeping with its rich tradition of tongue-in-cheek irreverence and pushing the advertising envelope, Volkswagen is launching TV ads unlike any other on network television. Initial television "teaser spots" use video footage from actual actor auditions -- a first for a major, national broadcast advertising campaign, these real auditions mimic stereotypes and cliches found in typical SUV advertising and set the tone for the first Volkswagen SUV.

Later this month, Volkswagen will unveil the branding portion of Touareg's multi-million dollar advertising campaign, celebrating the new SUV while also doing what it has always done best: poking fun at itself (remember the famous Beetle "Lemon" ad?). To illustrate that Touareg is, "the VW that does what other VWs don't," the new ads depict precarious situations such as a GTI getting stranded in high water and a Jetta straddling a huge snow bank. Each spot culminates with the Touareg easily navigating its way through any potential roadblock in its path.

"The Volkswagen Touareg redefines the limits of mobility and expands the boundaries of freedom. It rewrites the story of what SUVs should be all about," said Dr. Jens Neumann, Volkswagen AG's member of the Board of Management in charge of North America.

In describing the Touareg's unique place in the market, Volkswagen is highlighting the SUV's unmatched and uncanny combination of refined German luxury, Autobahn road performance, and mountain-goat tenacity to triumph over the toughest off-road terrain.

"Touareg" literally means "free folk" and is the name of a nomadic tribe from the Sahara. A proud people of the desert, the Touareg embody the ideal of man's ability to triumph over the obstacles of a harsh land. To this day, they have maintained their strong character and self-reliance.

Both the V6 and V8 Touareg models offer a class-leading level of features and off-road engineering. For example, the V6 comes with standard items such as wood trim, eight-way adjustable leatherette seating, power glass sunroof, dual-zone Climatronic automatic temperature control, six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic(R), multi-function leather wrapped steering wheel, automatic rain-sensor window wipers, alloy wheels, tire pressure monitoring and many more items. Uniquely, these features are combined with on- and off- road performance equipment, including a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system with ESP(R), automatic Hill Descent Control, Hill Rollback Control, low-range transfer case, and center differential locking, to name a few.

The V8 version reaches an even higher level of refinement and all-road mobility with full leather 12-way power adjustable seating, 18-inch alloy wheels, and many more luxury items. Both the V8 and V6 can be equipped with optional four-corner air-suspension with Continuous Damping Control (automatic height adjusting for all driving conditions), as well as standard center and optional rear differential locking.

Just a few of the safety items on both the V6 and V8 include front, side and head airbags, Side Curtain Protection(R) for front and rear passengers, four-wheel ABS with emergency brake assist, ESP, and much more.

  "Tiptronic" is a registered trademark of Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche AG
  "ESP" is a registered trademark of DaimlerChrysler AG
  "Side Curtain Protection" is a registered trademark of Volkswagen AG