This Is What Nearly Killed The Volkswagen Arteon

Luxury / 9 Comments

And how VW plans to fix the problem.

Volkswagen's flagship sedan model, the Arteon, got off to a rocky start after its US debut at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. A direct replacement for the Volkswagen CC, or "Comfort Coupe," the Arteon's launch was delayed by a number of months as the German automaker faced issues relating to European emissions testing.

With the newly refreshed 2021 Arteon, Volkswagen is hoping to set the ship aright, taking an honest stab at claiming its share of the segment occupied by the Infiniti Q50 and Kia Stinger. But it wasn't just emissions issues that worked against the 2019 VW Arteon, Volkswagen Group of America Senior VP Hein Schafer conceded on a recent call; another issue, he says, was the general lack of advertising.

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"Trying to establish a new brand in the United States amongst all the competitors that we have is extremely difficult," said the Senior VP in charge of Product & Strategy. "I think, probably, our advertising campaign probably could have been larger, to be quite honest." That includes multimedia marketing, of course, but Volkswagen is also hoping to increase the Arteon's exposure in America's VW showrooms, "to get more test drives going."

Yet another obstacle to the Arteon's success the last time around was related to incentives; according to Schafer, the segment in which the car competes is "seventy percent lease[s] in the United States."

"I think if we retrospectively look, we probably could have had a little bit more money out the gates to make sure that the car leases very well."

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Schafer made assurances last week that these are all things Volkswagen is working on, so that the new 2021 VW Arteon ought to be a much more visible, lease-friendly vehicle.

Of course, this is all in addition to Volkswagen's overhaul of the car itself, which for 2021 features a more pared-down trim lineup, sharper styling, and a dramatically improved interior with a fully redesigned dash panel, more premium materials, and loads of tech to make it a high-value proposition. With all that, the Arteon should be an entirely more competitive flagship for 2021.

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