Over in Europe, diesels engine are the preferred choice for most drivers. They offer fuel efficiency, lower fuel prices, and represent only a modest increase in price over gasoline versions. Here in the States, many drivers turn to hybrids for more fuel efficient motoring. Why the difference? There are several ways to answer the question, but one really only needs to look at the German pricing for the new VW Touareg Hybrid to understand the discrepancy.
The retail price for a Touareg hybrid in Germany is listed at a price equivalent to $100,300. Compare that number to the base Touareg V6 diesel which starts at $69,400 or the V8 TDI diesel version which comes in at $96,000 and its clear that the high price of the hybrid version would be a turn off to potential buyers.
The real comparison would be between the V6 diesel and the hybrid model. The V8 TDI is an entirely different, performance oriented model that is loaded to the extremes. So in Germany you have your choice, a diesel with $30,000 left over in your checkbook, or a hybrid with no money to spare.
So why are hybrids a great choice for American buyers? Many automakers sell hybrid products at a loss, which VW is unwilling to do in Germany. VW has not yet announced U.S, pricing for the same models. It will be interesting to see the price differences.