Waiting to Exhale: VW Delays U.S. Arteon Launch Over Emissions Certification
Volkswagen Group has delayed the U.S. launch of its flagship Arteon sedan for a few more months as it waits for that all-important emissions certification. Apparently, Europe’s switch to the updated Worldwide Harmonized Light-Duty Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) has created an extensive approvals backlog.
While the United States still uses the EPA’s less forgiving FTP-75 and HWFET, Europe is in the process of abandoning the ironically named New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) for WLTP. Presumably, VW wants to ensure its vehicles are green lit by the EU before it starts manufacturing them for the U.S. Unfortunately for the automaker, it stands to lose sales in the interim.
How many units that will entail is unclear. Sedans aren’t incredibly popular these days and, like the CC, the Arteon isn’t expected to be a high-volume model. A few months out of action is never good, though; Volkswagen is likely to miss out on thousands of deliveries.
Officially, there’s nothing the brand can do about it. According to Automotive News, a VW spokesperson attributed the issue entirely to “delays in the certification process caused by a backlog in meeting [new] WLTP worldwide emissions testing.” That wouldn’t be a big deal if the holdup were a single month. But the automaker is citing a vague “early 2019” launch date and recently cancelled a drive event scheduled for next month in California. VW’s original launch was expected to take place before the end of 2018.
The MQB-based Arteon has already been on sale in Europe for a full year with the same 2.0-liter TSI four-cylinder it intends to sell in the United States. The big difference is that the American-bound model is said to receive some fine-turning and an eight-speed automatic, rather than the seven-speed DSG currently offered in Europe.
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Gorgeous car, but in typical VW fashion they're going to screw it up. For starters, there's no reason for this car to *not* have the DSG. Anyone trying to sell a "upscale" sedan that starts north of $30k should stock it with the best kit. And that goes for the engine as well. The 188 HP 2.0T is fine a option for a volume family sedan, but if you're playing upscale and not offering the 276 HP version available in Europe then you're just setting yourself up for failure. I'll never understand why VW insists that they have to dumb down their best products for US sales.
I'm not in the market for either of these vehicles, but a Hemi powered Charger R/T seems like a way better deal - at about $6k less.