By on September 26, 2018

Image: VW

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.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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20 Comments on “Waiting to Exhale: VW Delays U.S. Arteon Launch Over Emissions Certification...”


  • avatar
    stingray65

    Too bad, I expect there are at least a baker’s dozen of VW faithful eagerly waiting to buy an “prestige”, “clean technology” VW sedan from their friendly customer oriented VW dealer.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    That wheel gap, yeech. Hopefully they fix that too.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      They can’t fix it. The radius of the wheel arches is simply too large. The car already sports what, 18 inch wheels on those photos? Any larger to fill the gap and it would make for a punishing ride.

      I’m sure it looked super cool on the artist’s concept with the 22 inch wheels, with cameras for mirrors and other such nonsense… but it doesn’t really work in real life, does it? Design fail.

      • 0 avatar
        notapreppie

        They just need to go with a larger diameter tire to match the height of the wheel arch.

        That or just lower the height of the wheel arches a bit (since lowering the entire body is probably giving away too much ground clearance).

        I’m not a fan of lowering cars for aesthetics but I’d make an exception for the Arteon.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Maybe it’s a crossover!

  • avatar
    Lockstops

    The bureaucrats really messed up big time with the WLTP implementation. Much of the European car market is in complete turmoil since in many countries taxes are based on WLTP so they can’t sell, or even calculate pricing until WLTP emissions are calculated on each model. And there are massive delays on WLTP testing & calculations.

    Many manufacturers literally can’t sell some of their cars right now. They can only take in deposits for orders if the customer doesn’t care to know what the car will cost, or they can deliver pre-WLTP cars that were ordered earlier. But first of September onwards they can’t sell anything unless the tests are done and calculations of the effects of every single optional extra have been done since they affect the overall WLTP figure!!

  • avatar
    redapple

    Guys,
    Am i stupid. I kinda want a GTI someday soon.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      @redapple: buy a 2019 model, or maybe (depending on configurations) a 2020 model. Don’t wait for Mark 8. Buy one now.

      Frankly, looking at the 2019 order guides, I think 2019 is a superb year for GTI configurations.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      Yes, you are stupid.

      I had a 1999 Passat 1.8T sedan. It was a great drive. Fortunately, I bought it CPO because VW put $5k into it in two years. I told my wife when we traded it in that she had to shoot me if I bought another VW. Of course, when we were shopping for our most recent car purchase, we test drove a new Golf 1.8t.

      I am stupid, too.

      We are car people: we are all stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      Robbie

      Welcome tom the club!

      Like me, you too will soon take your new GTI to the dealership; ask them to fix the sunroof rattle; will be told “we have never had that problem before”, at which point you show them hundreds of online messages about the problem; and you too will receive your car back with the rattle worse than ever, but with the visor replaced by an uglier one.

      Nevertheless it is a great car!

    • 0 avatar
      Robbie

      Welcome to the club!

      Like me, you too will soon take your new GTI to the dealership; ask them to fix the sunroof rattle; will be told “we have never had that problem before”, at which point you show them hundreds of online messages about the problem; and you too will receive your car back with the rattle worse than ever, but with the visor replaced by an uglier one.

      Nevertheless it is a great car!

    • 0 avatar
      lon888

      I’m sorry but… you’ll take your 2011 GTI to get the timing chain tensioner replaced due to the class action lawsuit that is causing engine failures. However, your friendly VW dealer will tell you first have to get the tensioner replaced at the low, low cost of about $1200, THEN you have to file a claim against VW (which they’ll deny) and there you’re out the money on something that should have repaired under a recall. But the story improves – if your car has over 100K miles you’re totally screwed – you’ll get absolutely nothing. Nice guys, huh?

  • avatar
    vehic1

    stingray65: Hardly any more than the lonely few still buying “prestige” “high quality” Cadillacs and Lincolns, instead of imports.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I’ve seen one of these driving around near Charlotte NC with Michigan MFG tags. Thought it was interesting because I hadn’t heard of the model being out yet. Nothing really that special and I’m sure it will blend in within 6 months of release but I thought it was cool to see one out in the wild.

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    I am an admirer of the Arteon. It is currently the most beautiful Volkswagen product on sale.

  • avatar

    It looks a lot like Malibu, coupe like roof-line, maw. I hope interior is different.

    • 0 avatar
      Whatnext

      As I’ve said in other threads, the Arteon totally schools teh Malibu on how to handle this kind of roofline. The Malibu is an exercise in DLO fail with little black plastic bits trying to convince you they are a window.

  • avatar
    notwhoithink

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      Robbie

      @notwhoithink: VW seems to be unable to make the economics work.

      Given their troubles in the US though, it would probably be good to sell “your” properly configured Arteon in the US as a halo car, even at a small loss if necessary.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    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.


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