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Volkswagen is one of the largest automakers in the world, and as a result, the German automaker has a lot of models that routinely sell very well. The Atlas is one of those models, and while the automaker has given the midsize crossover SUV a lot of great features, its sales aren’t looking very good lately. In fact, sales of the Volkswagen Atlas fell off a cliff at the end of 2022.

A 2022 Volkswagen Atlas driving down the road.
2022 Volkswagen Atlas | VW Media

The midsize SUV segment is a popular and competitive segment, and the Atlas has been Volkswagen’s midsize crossover offering for several years. That said, it’s competing against other great SUVs such as the Kia Telluride and the Toyota Highlander. As such, according to Ford Authority, the Atlas has been in the middle of the pack as far as sales go. 

In 2021, VW sold just over 115,000 units of the midsize SUV. This put it in fifth place, just shy of the 116,000 units that the Chevy Traverse sold. It also put it above the Telluride, which only sold about 100,000 units in the year.

These numbers are a significant improvement from prior years as well, as VW sold about 80,000 units of the Atlas in 2020. Unfortunately for VW, that growth in sales didn’t last forever, and it came crashing down in late 2022.

2022 was a terrible year for the Volkswagen Atlas

The supply chain issues that have affected the automotive industry since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic are still a force to be reckoned with. In 2021, automakers in the large three-row crossover segment, which the Atlas is competing in, sold a combined 1.24 million units. In 2022, the segment’s total sales dropped to 1.1 million units. That’s a drop of over 124,000 units, or a roughly 11% decline.

Those issues affected automakers differently, and while the segment saw a decline in sales as a whole, a few models actually saw an increase in sales. This was the case for the Nissan Pathfinder, which grew by 40% in sales year-over-year.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Atlas was one of the biggest losers, as its sales dropped to 82,000 units for the year. That’s a decline of 33,000 units or 29%. 

The Honda Pilot is the only model in the segment that saw a bigger drop in sales, and it dropped by 30%. What separated Volkswagen from the pack was how fast its sales started to drop.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, VW sold almost 23,000 units of the Atlas. In the fourth quarter of 2022, the German automaker only sold 5,000 units. That’s the lowest sales out of any models in the segment for the quarter, and it’s also a drop of 76% year-over-year. 

Volkswagen will have to fix its supply chain issues before it’s too late

Overall, 2022 wasn’t a total disaster for the Atlas, as it still sold over 80,000 units, and that’s enough to put it in seventh place in the segment. However, it’s very concerning that VW only sold about 5,000 units of the SUV in the fourth quarter of 2022.

It’s not entirely clear what happened to cause Volkswagen to sell so few units of the SUV in that timespan, but there were no other models in the segment that had a remotely similar collapse. 

The Mazda CX-9 was the second worst-selling SUV in the segment, but Mazda still moved 11,000 units for the quarter, which is twice the number that VW moved. The most likely source of these issues are related to the supply chain, so VW will need to fix them before Atlas sales collapse even further.


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