By on February 11, 2020

Image: Tim Healey/TTAC

The answer, mouthed silently by many of our readers, is surely, “No, absolutely not.”

And yet the door is not closed on the prospect of a wagon variant of the Volkswagen Arteon ⁠— a high-end liftback sedan that landed with a barely audible thump in North America last year. Comments made at the Chicago Auto Show reveal this as a possibility, and spy photos that cropped up today make that possibility even more appealing.

What isn’t yet known is whether the pool of potential buyers could fit into a Volkswagen Arteon.

For starters, the background: In a roundtable at last week’s show, Volkswagen’s vice president of product marketing and strategy, Hein Schafer, revealed that the Arteon is already due for a  refresh. The makeover will come at the end of the current year. Seems a trifle odd, as we’ve long since moved past the era when automakers sought to visually update their vehicles for each new model year. One must remember that the Arteon waited two years after its European debut to travel stateside.

In addition to that, the brand’s range-topper might even see a wagon variant in the U.S. market, Roadshow reported. It’s a big “might,” given America’s propensity for shunning the bodystyle. VW’s discontinued Golf SportWagen might be the only exception to the rule.

Schafer said the automaker is currently engaged in studies to determine if enough demand exists to warrant the wagon’s trans-Atlantic journey. On Tuesday, spy photos appeared of the actual vehicle in the wild, playing in European snow.

It’s long, wide, and low (and in this instance, disguised as a Passat). Nevertheless, sexy Euro wagons have gained the annoying reputation as cruel teases, tempting a small niche of American buyers from afar and never getting close enough to touch. Sometimes one breaks through the blockade, like the Jaguar XF Sportbrake, only to see its lifespan cut short. Audi’s A6 Allroad is the latest model to carefully dip its toe in the water.

While the Arteon wagon’s popularity among U.S. consumers is far from certain, Schafer believes the model as a whole would perform better if Americans actually knew it existed. The exec griped about VW’s lack of marketing support upon launch, a move he feels carries much of the blame for the not-unattractive model’s low volume.

2018 Volkswagen Arteon cargo - Image: Volkswagen

“It’s definitely better than 400 units a month,” he told the roundtable, adding that advertising dollars are set to flow. “If you’re not spending $90 million to get the car out the door and the marketing on the street, it becomes quite tough.”

Selling its first examples in the U.S. in April of last year, the large-ish midsize four-cylinder liftback saw just 2,449 sales in 2019, with no month topping 400 units. (We can’t tell you how the Arteon fared in January, as VW of America has moved to quarterly sales reporting. What a pisser…)

The problem faced by the Arteon is that it’s a premium-minded vehicle with a budget badge in a market that shuns passenger cars, and there’s no engine upgrade available, either. The general consensus is that the Arteon is a good-looking and capable vehicle that lacks much of a reason for existing.

Time will tell what VW brass decides re: the wagon. Most crystal balls say “no,” but pollsters, on occasion, get things wrong.

[Images: Tim Healey/TTAC, Volkswagen]

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30 Comments on “Is There a Market for an Arteon Wagon in America?...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Is there a market? No, although they’d probably sell more Areton wagons than Buick sold TourX.

    I’m out of the market until 2025 or 2026, but were such a vehicle to exist then (or say a Mazda 6 wagon) I’d go test drive one. If VW had been smart enough to keep their 6/27 warranty I’d give it serious consideration for purchase.

    But I am an outlier. Quite honestly I just hope that sedans worth my consideration and budget still exist at that point.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      The Arteon starts at $6K higher than the TourX, and that doesn’t include the premium that would be tacked on for the wagon bodystyle, or the fact that TourX is likely to come with much bigger discounts.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      The only Arteons I’ve seen have had manufacturer plates on them – I live very near the US HQ. I would suggest adding a wagon to an already largely invisible car is unwise today. And I love wagons and want everyone to offer them.

      Remember when you could buy a Chevy Cavalier wagon? Or an Escort wagon? Or even a Lancer wagon? Sadness.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    Uh, they can’t even sell 400 Arteon *sedans* per month here. They think a wagon would do *better*?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      GM Authority (which is GM’s propaganda arm anyway) published a blurb claiming that TourX buyers had higher household incomes than any other Buick customers. If the people buying $30K-$40K wagons had higher incomes than the people buying Enclaves that can be spec-ed out to $60K – there’s some sort of market there that isn’t being tapped.

      Not everyone wants to spend $40K-$60K to get something with the TourX features from Volvo or Audi.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Is there a market for the Arteon in America?

    FTFY.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Yep, exactly what I came to ask. We saw this with the Stinger. If it has a mainstream badge and costs over $40K, it better have 3 rows of seats or a cargo bed. Plus at least the Stinger has some balls.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I didn’t realize the Arteon only came with a 4-cylinder, with no upgrade option. I thought part of the reason they kneecapped the Passat by taking away the V6 was to make room for a more premium CC successor. That makes the $48K sticker I saw on the Arteon in the VW showroom an even bigger joke. I can’t imagine how much more they’d ask for a wagon variant.

    I’ve so far seen one Arteon on the road, and that was in Seoul. Didn’t see any last time I was Europe two years ago. None in the US, obviously.

  • avatar
    lstanley

    If those spy photos are the final design, it’s not as good looking as I would have expected.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I drove an Arteon a few months ago. It’s a nice, pseudo lux riding car that handles ok, feels nice when accelerating, brakes nice, etc.. It’s got a nice interior, nice seats, nice infotainment. Oh, and it’s AWD. Nice

    It’s best at looking good and being able to haul a whole lotta stuff in that big hatch. Big back seat is REALLY nice when you have a family or other people hauling duties, too.

    Problems with the car:

    1) It’s priced too high
    2) There is no VR6 option
    3) Less expensive SUVs do the same for less money.

    That last one is the money shot.

    In 2018, VW sold the Passat GT loaded for 30k with the VR6, but no 4Motion. This car is $15k more than that Passat and it sure doesn’t feel like it.

    Seems like Arteon is a cut rate, bigger A5 sedan.

  • avatar
    Coolcar2

    Take a look at cars.com or autotrader and you will find a hefty inventory of 2019 NEW Arteons available at $10k off MSRP. So these puppies are not selling given their lofty price and I can’t imagine a wagon variety will draw any additional attention. For the price the V6 would have been a more appropriate engine as an exclusive option above the Passat.

  • avatar
    phreshone

    Wouldn’t they be better of doing a US Passat wagon version. Been since the Caprice that America has gotten a true large family wagon… that cabin with a full sized cargo area, at the US Passat price points has a chance, not something as small as the Golf, or an expensive tweener like the Arteon… Then they can Allroad too

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    It depends on how you define “market.” But the 150 or so they would sell would definitely sell for above original MSRP on Bring a Trailer starting in about three four years!

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    “..Schafer believes the model as a whole would perform better if Americans actually knew it existed. The exec griped about VW’s lack of marketing support upon launch, a move he feels carries much of the blame for the not-unattractive model’s low volume.”

    He’s exactly right. VW has done virtually no marketing for the car in North America. They apparently expected the couple hours they gave Youtube reviewers with it to do the trick.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Yes. Three changes needed: add plastic cladding, raise 3″, put Audi logo on it.

  • avatar
    Steve203

    Well, if the refresh means a new, super-ultra cheap trim for the US, and lots of fleet sales, and they drop the Passat, they might sell a few. After all, the Regal taking a dirt nap will open a market for 10,000/yr of this type of vehicle.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    No.

  • avatar
    alfasgofast2

    That’s not a wagon, it’s a four door hatchback. What’s with the Germans trying to create new definitions of english/american terms? It was bad enough when BMW, and then Mercedes, started to call some of their four door cars a “coupe.” Sort of like that Conway woman at the Whitehouse saying Prezident Trump is speaking in “alternative facts” when he prevaricates.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    If they couldn’t make the Golf SportWagen viable, how in the world could they possibly justify this?

    Bin the Arteon and bring the Euro Passat over here, and be done with it.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve203

      >>If they couldn’t make the Golf SportWagen viable,<<

      Golf wagons got pricey in a hurry. In the back of my mind is the thought that VW couldn't justify the cost of a set of Mk VIII Golf tooling for Puebla, and Base trim Golfs imported from Germany would be too expensive. VAG is probably figuring only the GTI and R can get away charging a high enough price to make a profit.

      The Steve Plan (yes, I have one for VW too) would be to leverage the Jetta tooling that already exists in Puebla to built a hatchback version of the Jetta that would end up looking very much like a Skoda Scala. That would satisfy the 15,000 people who bought a Golf hatch or wagon last year and the Jetta's $3,000 lower price point might even add a few that passed on the $22,000+ Golf.

  • avatar
    V16

    A market for an Arteon wagon?
    Unfortunately, No.
    A market for the European ‘New’ Touareg SUV?
    Yes, but forbidden fruit in North America.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Yep, that is why they brought over the version of the new Touareg badged “Audi Q7.”

      Except for pickup trucks and BOF SUVs, US consumers have proven totally allergic to paying premium prices for mass-market brands.

  • avatar

    That SUV or CUV (flat floor) is a truck for CAFE. A wagon/estate/shooting brake isn’t.
    Any US importer or maker would rather you go for the truck-let for their cafe numbers, so they can sell more high profit Escalades, etc.
    Our roads suck so a trucklet is a better way to go in a low speed environment with huge holes.
    An older population also likes the high seating points and the non geek population will always buy the bigger vehicle at the same price point.
    I stare, longingly, at euro catalog, the C class Estate I’d have ordered in C43 trim…if I could have.

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