Opinion: Volkswagen Needs to Cancel the Arteon Immediately

opinion volkswagen needs to cancel the arteon immediately

I was thinking about Volkswagen this weekend, as you do. We’ve all seen the recent reports that the company is losing money, betting big on the new electric ID lineup, and about to sell its halo supercar brand Bugatti.

But I think the company has another, product-centric issue in North America as you might’ve guessed by the title above. The Arteon must go.

You see, I was checking out some pictures of an Arteon SEL at whatever random dealer Google presented to me. And while the alignment of the trunk really bothered me from a quality perspective, the rest of the photos caused me to consider how the Arteon is absolutely the wrong premium sedan offering for VW’s North American lineup.

The looks aren’t the issue, as it manages to stand out with its unique profile and appears upscale in lots of colors that aren’t Hot Gold Metallic. No, the Arteon’s issues are with positioning. Arteon’s playing the premium sedan game, sitting above the Passat as VW’s flagship sedan in this market.

As you know, I’m no fan of the current Passat, which is worse than the Passat the rest of the world gets for VW Corporate Reasons. It’s unacceptable the MQB-based Arteon shares a showroom floor with the crap “NMS” Passat, unless Volkswagen wants to make the Arteon look more premium. But the Arteon can’t be that premium, because it’s required to sit below Audi offerings. That’s problem one.

The second issue for the Arteon comes in the form of its … form. It’s a liftback, which is traditionally not a thing Americans go for outside of premium offerings – see Kia’s Stinger for example. The “coupe” form factor also arrives for historical reasons, because the Arteon is the official replacement for the departed CC. That sloped “four-door coupe” (2008-2017) was so ancient by the time it was canceled that everyone forgot it was still on sale. And nobody wanted a second album from CC and company anyway. Dealers are throwing thousands on the hood to try and shift Arteon: $6,000 on the one above, even before you begin negotiations.

The Arteon’s placement is wrong, its form is wrong, and the North American Passat sucks. What’s my recommendation then? Two birds with one stone, as it were: The ancient NMS Passat and slow-selling Arteon must be killed immediately. In place of both these things American’s don’t really want, Volkswagen can bring over the legitimate MQB Passat they sell in the rest of the world.

A sedan will always sell better than a liftback in North America (even if that’s still a bit slow), and the Passat’s price is more in line with what consumers are willing to spend on a Volkswagen. They could bring over the wagon as well, but that’s probably a bad idea. Volkswagen’s North American Passat and Arteon need to ALT+F4 right out of this market. Bring back a well-made, premium Passat like you used to sell here, VW.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Oct 15, 2020

    Never understood why VW bothered with this in NA. With many killing off their full sized sedans including Hyundai and probably soon Kia this decision was an odd one. I also wondered what was under the hood after having easily dusted one in my 2019 V6 Impala in a drag race last year. I agree that this and the barely powered Passat should both be axed with one good sedan replacement with more power under hood.

  • SSJeep SSJeep on Oct 16, 2020

    Counterpoint - VW should kill the Arteon and bring back the Phaeton.

    • See 1 previous
    • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Oct 22, 2020

      @ToolGuy I've a neighbor who bought one. He was a solid Benz guy but thought he'd get a Bentley on the cheap. Turns out the biggest problem is the local VW dealer couldn't fix it.....

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.