VW to launch its first production hybrid at Detroit show in January

Volkswagen is set to unveil an all-new Touareg at the Detroit motor show in January - and the line-up will include a hybrid from the outset.

The petrol-electric Touareg - VW's first production hybrid - will be the first of several new hybrid and electric models the company plans to launch by 2013. CEO Martin Winterkorn is keen for VW to become an “innovator” in alternative-fuel vehicles, as he believes it to be a “crucial technology”.

VW's new platform for 60 modelsVolkswagen Touareg Hybrid first drive

The new Touareg range, including the hybrid, is due to go on sale in the second half of 2010.

Ex-Continental boss Karl-Thomas Neumann has been brought in to lead the firm’s electric propulsion development and he will start this role next month, reporting directly to Winterkorn.

VW's first all-electric car will be the Up. Neumann will be responsible for developing the car, with the remit of bringing it to market by 2013. An electric Up concept was shown at Frankfurt in September.

In January VW will also begin trials of 20 examples of its plug-in hybrid Golf Twin Drive in Berlin. The Twin Drive is the firm’s first plug-in and can run for more than 30 miles on electric power alone. The Twin Drive also has a 2.0-litre diesel engine, giving a combined power output of 172bhp.

Mark Tisshaw

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Our Verdict

The Mk2 model, also based on the Porsche Cayenne, is lighter, roomier and more economical than the first

The second-generation Volkswagen Touareg has gone on a diet and become more efficient

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