Monday, October 31, 2005

Touareg Experience 360° Back from a Journey Around the World

Text from Volkswagen AG.
WOLFSBURG, Germany - After travelling 76.451 kilometres, through 26 countries and six continents, one of the most exciting automobile adventures of our time has come to a close this weekend: the Touareg experience 360° – a journey round the world in the Volkswagen off-road vehicle, Touareg.

The Touareg experience 360° was initiated by Volkswagen Marketing for all those who dreamt of great adventures and of travelling through the most fascinating, most beautiful and most spectacular landscapes on the planet. A journey which, if organised privately, would not be easy or even necessarily safe. Therefore, professional globetrotters organised a very special trip round the world within the framework of the Volkswagen experience.

In one of the six 128 kW / 174 bhp Touaregs R5 TDI, six guests, two journalists and two experts covered one of a total of thirteen stages of the journey. "The experts and the guests", said Jörn Hinrichs, head of marketing at Volkswagen, "started with perfectly normal – and very talented – Touareg standard-production vehicles. The performance of the Touareg simply provided the basis for this unique 360° journey round the world." The guests and journalists who had checked in on the journey as world travellers for a limited period changed at the end of each stage. A total of ten nations travelled in the vehicle. The expedition could be followed with the up-to-date diary in the Internet at www.volkswagen-experience.de.

Once on the road, the crews were fully independent of each other: there were no special service vehicles with technical equipment which could have helped in a critical situation. They would not have been needed anyway, as the Touareg proved itself to be an extremely reliable companion. This was a priceless advantage when travelling through some of the most remote, but also most beautiful, places on the planet. The Touareg drivers guided their vehicles through regions between China and Mongolia that have never been driving on a private expedition before by a foreigner from the West. In the Amazon region of South America, the Touareg experience 360° drove through extreme jungle trails. In Bolivia, the Touareg went up to heights of 5,600 metres. The temperature reached 45 degrees in the shade in the Sahara as the journey went through Africa. When the country-specific conditions allowed, the vehicles covered up to 1,300 kilometres in one day.

Each individual stage of the Touareg experience 360° had its own fascinating elements. After the journey from Germany to Alaska, the first stage went through the Rocky Mountains. This was followed by a trip through southwest America to Baja California and then further south. The third stage in the Touareg's log book was the Transamazonica in South America and then the Andes and the Atacama Desert. The next group then toured Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.

The Touareg 360° experience then changed continent and went to Australia. The trek continued from Sydney into the outback and then through west Australia. The first leg in Asia went, as already indicated, through China and Mongolia, on to the legendary Silk Road and the Himalayas, and then India and Central Africa. The next destinations were the Okavango Delta and the Kalahari Desert. The route from Dakar to Wolfsburg marked the finale of the world tour. The team arrived here with six Touaregs on the morning of 29th October.

With the outstanding response of all participants - the tour was open to all those who enjoy travelling - and the reliability displayed by the Touareg, Volkswagen declared the journey round the world to be a resounding success. The main point of emphasis for the initiators was, alongside the reliability test of the vehicle, the vision of creating a space for extraordinary freedom. A journey of this kind through Africa, Asia, America and Australia would have remained a dream for many of the participants without the Touareg experience 360°.

The journey still continues although the world tour is finished. The Volkswagen experience will offer globetrotters a fascinating programme in 2006. The Touareg will, for example, travel to Botswana, China, Morocco, South Africa and Canada. Anyone wanting to travel and experience these great adventures should call the hotlines 0800-8938368 (0800/VWEVENT) or (from outside Germany) 0049-5136-9722262. Those not wanting quite so much adventure can also call these numbers to receive information about other event journeys and the various different driver/safety training programmes offered by Volkswagen experience (www.volkswagen-experience.de).

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