Don't You Dare Call the Volkswagen Arteon, the CC's Replacement, a Hatchback

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
dont you dare call the volkswagen arteon the ccs replacement a hatchback

Humpback. Tailback. Silverback.

Paperback. Greenback. Kickback.

Payback. Setback. Buyback.

Notchback. Liftback. Hatchback.


Elmar-Marius Licharz, the director of mid and large car model lines at Volkswagen, makes it very clear that the 2018 Volkswagen Arteon, a successor to the Volkswagen CC, is not a hatchback.

Do such designations matter? To Volkswagen, apparently they do.

“Don’t say hatchback,” Licharz told The Telegraph, “it’s fastback.”

There are two main reasons Licharz and Volkswagen could be sensitive on the subject. For one thing, the Arteon, which follows the sedan CC, is a fastback. The roofline slopes sharply at the rear of the car.

But as a means of distinguishing sedans, with their separate, exterior-access trunks, from cars such as the Arteon, we’re apt to use the word “hatchback” as a qualifier.

Hatchback, however, bring up visions of the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Chevrolet Sonic, and Nissan Versa Note. Thus, not only is the Volkswagen Arteon a true fastback, it also doesn’t deserve (in Volkswagen’s mind) to be linked with such plebeian vehicles. The Volkswagen Arteon is, in the eyes of executives at VW HQ, premium.

“Premium” and “hatchback” do not go together like apple pie and ice cream.

“The cars we produce at our Chattanooga plant are for the mass market,” Licharz says. “The cars that come from Germany,” referring to vehicles such as the Arteon, “will need to push at the premium market.”

Thus, the Arteon is bigger than the old CC, and big investment was required to use the famed MQB architecture on a car of this size.

Still, it’s curious that Volkswagen keeps going back to this premium well. It would be all the more curious if Volkswagen had attempted to steal Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo sales with a cargo bay door that wasn’t hidden by a sedan-like profile.

Fastback. Not hatchback.

141,211 copies of the Volkswagen CC have been sold in the U.S. since its 2008 launch as the Passat’s swoopy sibling. From its peak of nearly 30,000 sales in 2011, sales plunged, averaging only fewer than 9,000 annual units over the last four years. With CC production ended, the Arteon arrives in the U.S. next year.

[Images: Volkswagen]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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2 of 74 comments
  • Vvk Vvk on Jul 11, 2017

    This is really simple. If it has five doors and you can fit a full size fridge in the back, it is a wagon. If it has five doors and the fridge does not fit due to the slope of the rear door or the length of the cargo area, it is a hatchback. BMW GRand Coupe, Porsche Panamera, Audi A7, Tesla Model S -- all hatchbacks.

  • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Jul 11, 2017

    Will this still come with the 3.6? I don't mind this AT ALL.

  • Tassos This is yesterday;s news, or even the day before. I reported it here yesterday, and commented on it. Do wake up.
  • 2ACL As far as manufacturers with US operations go? Current Focus or Fiesta. Honda e.As for those with no US operations, I've been intrigued by the Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered and Vauxhall Corsa Electric.
  • Tassos SNAAB shot itself in the foot when it BASTARDIZED its unique brand by BADGE ENGINEERING its vehicles with GOD DAMNED GM, OPEL, CHEVY, LANCIA and who knows what other automotive RIFF RAFF. I know of no Saab Enthusiast (they do exist) who felt sorry when the stupid maker went BANKRUPT.
  • 28-Cars-Later Example is located in Coldwater Michigan, so..." needs work -- including new brakes."Brakes, brake lines, probably fuel lines. Probably should hit the master cylinder too unless there are seal only kits for it."It has an automatic transmission."Likely needs a new one of those as well."an exhaust leak"Add an exhaust to the list."an inaccurate speedo."Wow and TMU to boot!These days five to six bills isn't too horrible but this example could turn into a headache really quick due to parts availability. The right buyer for this is a small time tradesman, the HVAC guy who was just leaving my house is rolling a late P80 Volvo 850 sedan in manual which he treats like a truck. Said he'd love a wagon if he ever came across one... if you're local to Coldwater Michigan this is a nice work beater. Annual inspection/registration tax probably costs nearly as much as the car.
  • 2ACL Amazing price, but that's (IMO) a reflection of the interest in an old 2.0T repmobile made interesting only by being a wagon. The Epsilon 9-3 was a sanitized take on the Saab formula. That's not to say it lacks interesting variants, but this isn't one of them. If it had a stick, maybe. But this generation's automatics are sealed and known to become temperamental if not serviced. If the owner can't provide proof of regular servicing, run.