By on March 30, 2020

Image: Tim Healey/TTAC

Imagine the exasperation among the six or so people who would have bought this thing after hearing that the slinky wagon version of the Volkswagen Arteon won’t make it stateside. Imagine!

Yes, it appears that the vehicle previewed in a mess of alluring spy shots is not en route to the United States in a fleet of USAF C-17s, part of an all-out effort to get desirable product to the most receptive market as quickly as possible.

When we last checked on the situation, VW brass hadn’t yet decided whether the upcoming Arteon wagon would find a home here. A bigger issue among top executives was the basic Arteon liftback’s barely-there presence on U.S. roads (an issue expected to be rectified, to some degree, by a bump in advertising).

Now, Car and Driver reports that the Arteon wagon will bypass the U.S. on its way to customers in Europe and China. Don’t expect the U.S. Geological Survey to record tremors caused by jaws hitting the floor.

The automaker will also call the model a “shooting brake” in these overseas markets — a move that further bastardizes automotive terminology in the name of marketing. A shooting brake typically has two doors, but coupes typically sport fewer than four, so everything’s out the window these days.

Not only will Americans not receive the Arteon wagon, they won’t have the Arteon R to mull over, either. The high-performance variant, said to don a hotter 2.0-liter turbo with about 330 horsepower, is apparently something only foreign buyers will be able to enjoy.

At least there’s some improvements on the way for the model’s 2021 refresh.

It’s lean times in the industry, with cost cutting and slashed build configurations being the norm even before the coronavirus pandemic took a big bite out of future profits. Few should be surprised by these developments.

[Image: Tim Healey/TTAC]

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18 Comments on “Report: Sexy Wagon Variant of Remarkably Low Volume Car NOT Inbound to the U.S. As We Speak...”

  • avatar

    Luckily its potential buyers group was small enough to slip under the quarantine restrictions on large gatherings of people, so they can all get together and mourn.

  • avatar

    Call me crazy, but this car (hatch/sedan or wagon) would be something I would seriously consider buying when I replace my Venza. I am semi-professional pianist, and internet research on the cargo specs indicates that my digital piano, PA system, and other gear would fit into the back of the hatch quite nicely for transporting to gigs (after COVID, of course). I’m not particularly a SUV guy, and would love to get a hatch/sedan that meets my needs. However, to refer to today’s QOTD thread, I’m expecting the Arteon will not be long for the USA market, hatch or wagon. It’s under advertised and the wrong car for today’s market. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a viable car for the 150 or so of us in the USA that it would consider buying it. LOL.

  • avatar

    They’re saving themselves some money, as the people who say they’d buy this car are deep in the Internet Car People realm. And they don’t buy new cars.

    • 0 avatar

      The Chevrolet Cruze diesel checked basically every box the Internet automotive commentariat opined for: a relatively affordable, diesel-powered car available as a hatchback with a manual transmission. Did they put their money where their collective mouths were and buy it in droves? You all know the answer to that.

    • 0 avatar

      I am a brown, manual transmission, wagon buyer so to speak. The guy that proclaims “I would totally buy that” on the internet. I buy new cars too. I probably go through 3 cars every 6 years or so between leasing and buying.

      The problem is pricing that doesn’t really have any basis in reality and the Arteon is a good example. So, even though I may yearn for the brown manual wagon, I also happen to be be pretty down to earth. I could afford more car, but when I see a hefty price, I keep looking. My favorite cars are the critically acclaimed cars unloved by the marketplace. Now, with $6-7k in rebates/incentives, the Arteon starts looking pretty darn good. It would look even better with a few extra horses as it’s mill is fairly ho-hum in this price range. If they were interested in moving more of these, the added power would go a long way.

      But alas, its always about stepping on toes. Don’t want to encroach on Audi, so the Arteon will languish like a lot of potentially great vehicles that are kneecapped to fit branding.

      That being said, I am definitely giving it a look in 2 years when my current lease is up.

      • 0 avatar

        “The problem is pricing that doesn’t really have any basis in reality”

        Define “reality.” I’d wager VW defines “reality” as “we want to actually make money selling these.”

        • 0 avatar

          Well, I suppose from my perspective every vehicle class has what I would consider the value leader. For instance, I would consider a car like the Subaru WRX a value leader for performance vehicles. It can be had for pretty reasonable prices and can get pretty close to cars costing far more in performance. After the WRX, its diminishing returns. The further you get away from that value leader position, yeah its nicer or faster, but is it really worth it. That is a question for each individual I suppose. But take the Arteon, aside from its sheetmetal, it is a parts bin car in many respects. Without doing research on it, pretty sure it has a ubiquitous engine, AWD system, interior components riding on scalable architecture used in a whole slew of vehicles. Sure its a niche player, but a niche player without much to make it truly special aside from the exterior design. So it is hard for me to stomach at full price when a GLI could be had for far less and get you most of the way there. Best I can do to define it. So, additional power would help to justify the price hike. Given all the parts it shares with other vehicles, I suspect they are making plenty of money on it even at discounts.

          • 0 avatar

            And this, B&B is where we all predicted we would be at today, 8 years ago.

            Manufacturers basing multiple cars off of a modular platform, with indistinguishable differences in drivetrain, but charging differing amounts without discretion as to why.

            Why does a midsize built on the same platform as the neighboring full-size cost $10,000 less? Well no reason actually, they cost about the same to build, they both have the same econobox drivetrain and neither stand out in a crowd.

            The downfall of the current crop of p155poor cars on sale that are garnering increasingly lower interest and demand today – due to ubiquitous 2.0L lawn mower engines and platform sharing, will go on to have the same mode of failure on electric vehicles sales in the future.

            Your Toyota EV will use the exact same Dana sourced motors as your Porsche EV. No one is paying $50,000 more for a slightly different interior and, outside of a couple dolts, a badge.

            Either the mythical “cheap” EV everyone has spent years proclaiming was ‘right around the corner’ will never materialize, or luxury makes will have no reason to exist. You can’t have both scenarios simultaneously existing.

        • 0 avatar

          “we want to actually make money selling these.”

          God forbid Jim. Companies and dealers should not do that. It is a crime to make money on unsuspecting customers. We need to demand them to become non-profit organizations for the betterment of humanity.

          • 0 avatar

            Well, so here is the thing ILO. I, and probably everyone else, understands that people need to eat, everyone deserves to make a dollar for their labor, a return on their investment, etc.

            The problem is that nobody really knows how much it costs to produce a given vehicle. The development costs for the platform, engine and every other component in a vehicle have different amortization rates based on the number of models that share, number of years on sale, total volume of vehicles utilizing them.

            I once read (paraphrasing and fully admit this is anecdotal at best) that a $50,000 F-150 costs less than $20K to manufacturer including all the amortization of development costs, etc. Not only that, but a nicely optioned sedan that would retail for $30k costs only marginally less to manufacturer than the F150. The basic components that go into a vehicle (Steel, plastic, rubber) are literally dirt cheap. The idea that a bigger car should cost substantially more is nothing more than a marketing triumph. Similarly, the options that drive prices into the stratosphere are almost pure profit.

            It would be a really interesting exercise to see an educated guess from someone in the industry as to what it costs to develop and manufacture a specific model (including amortization based on a volume sold) vs the MSRP of the vehicle. I think it would blow some minds.

  • avatar

    “Sexy wagon”?? @Steph, I think you’ve been seeing too many CUVs.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Of the 3 or 4 I’ve seen of these, 3 of the 4 had HQ pates on them as the VW US headquarters are nearby.

    Adding another large-ish premium 4 door car with a turbo charged 4 cylinder just isn’t going to be the way to go now.

  • avatar

    I liked how this drove, but it’s too expensive for a VW AND for what this car is. It’s a lux car with a plebeian badge and an underpowered 4 banger that doesn’t sound all that good.

    Good looks aren’t enough.

    Making it a sexy wagon but keeping the price high won’t help. Ask Jaguar.

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