The lackluster sales of the Passat/CC has led VW to replace it with a dramatically styled replacement that - lo, and behold - will actually go on sale later this year as a 2018 model! (*In Europe. Probably later in the USA.)
Shocking, perhaps, that a concept (itself based on the GTE Coupe Concept from 2015) will actually go on sale, unlike the numerous iterations of the 1960s VW Bug, the latest of which we won't dignify with a comment. What's even more shocking is that this is a really beautiful design.
Dr. Elmar-Marius Licharz, head of the mid- and full-size vehicle lines for Volkswagen, raves about its design.
"The car looks simply great – it both arouses emotions and creates desirability," he said. "Many of the details of the show car have made it into real production."
Yes, it does. The company is calling the car a "fastback," which technically means a car's roofline merges smoothly into its tail in one, smooth, seamless curve. Indeed that's the case here, though if its meant to evoke the old VW Bug, that's not the case, but it's still beautifully wrought. (The Type 3 Fastback sedan of the late 1960s is a better analogy, as the company points out.)
The name Arteon is a portmanteau of "art" and "eon," the suffix that cleverly signifies all high-end luxury models within the Volkswagen brand worldwide. The Arteon’s integrated grille, LED headlamps and daytime running lights with chrome trim that connects all three elements presents the new “face” of the Volkswagen brand.
Compared to the outgoing CC, the Arteon is longer and wider, while its fastback profile allows for a true hatchback trunk. It’s also space efficient, with up to 55 cubic feet of cargo space when the rear seats are folded down.
LED taillights and 20-inch wheels combined with a SEXY shoulder line that runs the length of the body, highlighting the Arteon’s sporty nature.
THE AUDI PROBLEM
The car does have a problem, however, and it's a problem I call "the Audi Problem."
The company's website says, "while the Arteon offers a premium appearance, it will not carry a huge price tag." Lichartz is quoted as saying it's "the perfect car for people who appreciate great style and great value for money. That is how we are challenging premium car makers without becoming one ourselves." While Volkswagen assuredly is NOT a luxury car company, it's sure approaching one when it puts out such a high-end vehicle as this, and one like the much-maligned CC.
Audi has long struggled to get itself back on top after a decade or two of floundering sales with cars that looked like, well, flounders. This car, admittedly beautiful and luxurious, is part of Volkswagen's "Audi Problem," because it most assuredly cuts into sales of its A3 entry-level car - which strangely resembles, and perhaps, the Arteon even RIVALS with its gorgeous sheetmetal curves
As KIA is learning with its poorly selling upscale K900 model, a non-luxury car company is NOT a luxury car company, nor can it be. Leave that to the upscale version of your brand (or in the case of KIA, *build* a luxury brand) and then don't try to compete with it.