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

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

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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  • 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.

  • EBFlex Ford finally making a good decision although they should shut down their EV operations and investment all together. Why lose that money too?
  • Mike Lol. This is the king of suvs. And its made by GM.Why is everyone trashing it?Top of its its class for a quarter century.
  • Frank Drove past there last week, plant has a huge poster of a bronco on the outside. I was thinking "Is that where they build the new broncos?" I know they use to make the Edge and that other mundane SUV there but I believe both have been canned.
  • CanadaCraig Toyota saw this coming. So good for them for being courageous enough to say, "Wait a minute. Let's not rush into anything."
  • Rna65689660 As the previous owner of a Triumph, and current owner of a MINI, I say, LOL!