The joint venture company established by China's FAW Group and Germany's Volkswagen AG launched its first plug-in hybrid sports utility vehicle (SUV) for the Chinese market on Saturday. The new model, developed by FAW-Volkswagen, is part of the joint venture's wider strategy to penetrate further into China's continually growing new energy vehicle segment.

The new hybrid SUV, called the Tayron GTE, will be available in two different variants. The base model is priced at around 249,800 yuan or around $25,276, while the higher-end variant is priced at 259,800 yuan. FAW-Volkswagen stated that it forecasts a huge demand for plug-in hybrids in China in the coming quarters, particularly given the country's rapid adoption of new energy mobility and the government's continued push for innovative mobility solutions.

FAW-Volkswagen vice-president, Dong Xiuhui, pointed out that SUVs, in particular, have become increasingly popular in China, which is why it had chosen to launch its first hybrid version of the platform. Dong stated that the Tayron GTE should meet the demands of most Chinese consumers given its versatility and its environmentally friendly power train.

In 2017, plug-in hybrid SUVs accounted for about 5 percent of the total new energy vehicle sales in China. Last year, that figure grew to about 29 percent as more consumers now prefer the larger vehicle models.  Plug-in hybrid powertrains also provide consumers with the best of both worlds as it is equipped with both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine.

In full-electric mode, the Tayron GTE has a maximum range of 54 kilometers on a single charge, which is enough for most commuters in major cities. For longer drives, the vehicle's 85-kilowatt electric motor can be used together with its 1.4-liter EA211 turbocharged gasoline engine. New car owner often chose to go with plug-in hybrids as the vehicles do not cause mileage anxieties and are the perfect transition vehicle before going full electric.

FAW-Volkswagen Sales Co executive vice-president, Martin Jahn, stated that the new hybrid model is expected to be an exemplar in the segment. He added that the platform should provide customers with an all-in-one package that boasts superb quality, top-notch safety, low-carbon emissions, and carefree driving experience.

 The Tayron GTE is based on FAW-Volkswagen's popular Tayron SUV model, which it launched in China back in October 2018. The standard model is the company's second SUV launched in the Chinese market. Since its debut, the Tayron has become a top competitor in the segment. Last year, FAW-Volkswagen sold a total of 168,000 fossil-fuel-powered Tayron SUVs in China.