Volkswagen's new Touareg is here with a plusher cabin and more striking look. It's designer, Frank Bruse, admits its focus is on China - so we ask what impact that has had on its potential in Europe.
Is there pressure designing VW’s flagship model?
“It means everyone looks closely at it, but there is more freedom and money to do things you can’t do on, say, a Polo or Up. For example, the headlights are quite expensive, but we can use them here first, then later introduce them on other models.”
Is it hard designing an SUV that appeals to the European and Chinese markets?
“It’s a big challenge. Chinese people want a bold front: chrome means status. In Europe, they don’t want cars that are showy or loud, so we have to find a compromise. Size is a big thing too. In China, it can’t be big enough, but in Europe we can’t go too big: we talk about the ‘five-metre barrier’.”
Is it a challenge to hide the sensors you need to fit to the front of cars for the driver assistance features?
“With the Touareg, we have the radar behind the logo. The Golf Mk6 was our first car with a sensor, so we put it low down on the air intake, but it could cause trouble by being so low and getting blocks. We now get feedback from some customers that they like to see the sensors.”