Volkswagen ID.4 and ID.5 to target Tesla Model Y with two-model attack next year

German car giant Volkswagen is poised to launch its biggest challenge yet to Australia’s top-selling electric SUV, the Tesla Model Y.

The Tesla Model Y – Australia’s top-selling electric SUV – could face is strongest challenge to date when Volkswagen launches a two-model attack on the segment.

The Volkswagen ID.4 SUV and ID.5 SUV coupe are due to arrive in Australia by the end of 2024, after production for our market was given the green light for mid next year.

The German car maker is planning to launch with four options as it enters the booming electric SUV segment:

  • Volkswagen ID.4 SUV rear-drive single motor (210kW)
  • Volkswagen ID.5 SUV coupe rear-drive single motor (210kW)   
  • Volkswagen ID.4 GTX SUV all-wheel-drive dual motor (220kW)
  • Volkswagen ID.5 GTX SUV coupe all-wheel-drive dual motor (220kW)

Prices are yet to be announced however Volkswagen Australia representatives indicated the vehicles will be positioned to compete head-on with the top-seller in the segment from electric-car benchmark Tesla.

“The Tiguan 162TSI and R (performance editions) currently make up almost 60 per cent of sales of Tiguan, it’s the most popular combination, and then there are option packs,” said Volkswagen Australia spokesman Daniel DeGasperi.

“We know our customers are keen to have similar performance in an electric vehicle. So the motor options we’ve selected for our market will closely resemble that.”

The ID.4 and ID.5 will launch with the high-output 210kW/545Nm electric motor.

They will be joined at the same time with the more powerful GTX versions of the ID.4 and ID.5, which have a peak output of 220kW but deliver brisker performance thanks to dual motors and all-wheel-drive power delivery. 

Less powerful, entry-point variants could follow in Australia at a later date but have been ruled out for now.

“Our clear aim for the vehicle is the sales leader in the electric SUV segment, the Tesla Model Y, and this (electric motor strategy) will … position that correctly.”

When asked for an indication on Australia pricing for the Volkswagen ID.4 and ID.5 range, the executive said it is too early to give an indication on price as the negotiations are ongoing.

However, he noted: “We will come to market very highly specified.”

As with other electric vehicles, Volkswagen says customers have shown they prefer well-equipped cars with fewer option packs to choose from.

The other advantage of loading more standard equipment: it reduces complexity in the supply chain – and when allocating vehicles to dealerships – and enables quicker customer deliveries.

Meantime, reports out of Europe claim Volkswagen is working on a more powerful 250kW version of the GTX editions of the ID.4 and ID.5 – so there is a bigger performance gap between the two grades (currently 210kW versus 220kW).

Given the Volkswagen ID.4 and ID.5 have been on sale in Europe for about two years already, a mid-life facelift is due in the next couple of years.

However, Australia is expected to launch with the ID.4 and ID.5 in their current iterations, rather than wait for the facelift, as is the case with the ID.3 (a Golf-size hatch and technical twin to the Cupra Born).

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Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years, spending most of that time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in 2018, and has been a World Car of the Year judge for more than 10 years.

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