There is a lot of mystery behind the VW Arteon. The mystery is why Volkswagen makes the sedan? Sedans don’t sell anymore, VW couldn’t give away its last big sedan the Phaeton, and VW put zero effort into a marketing campaign. VW knew each of those fun facts yet the Arteon is here. Why does VW still sell it?
There are few Americans that actually know this car even exists. And the sale of Arteon sedans in 2019 is telling. VW sold 2,449 of them. Yep, that’s it. Granted, it didn’t become available until April, but no one knew it arrived because there was no marketing campaign behind its arrival. Especially with an unknown name you have to at least spend $40-50 million on advertising.
VW will sell about 400 Arteon sedans a month
No month saw sales above 400 last year. Let’s face it VW is just not known for a more premium product. It’s got that VW logo on the grille and that means Toyota and Nissan territory. That’s why Toyota makes Lexus and Nissan has Infiniti.
As soon as it hit our shores it had a $2,500 discount. CarsDirect estimates an unadvertised dealer cash incentive program plunks another $3,500-5,000 onto the hood. It even found one dealer in California offering up an Arteon for $8,671 off of the list price. That becomes Passat territory for that price.
Maybe VW’s plan for the Arteon is to throw money onto the hoods of every last one
If you want to take the monthly payment route VW has lowered its finance rate from 0.9% to 0.0% for 72 months-not that we advise financing a car for six years. Maybe VW’s plan is to just throw money on top of the hood rather than advertise it. We’ll keep an eye out for how that works and let you know.
There’s another problem haunting Arteon. For such a large sedan it has only one engine option; a 2.0-liter four-cylinder at 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Audi, BMW, and Mercedes have shown that past a certain size buyers like a straight-six of some sort. As the front-drive Arteon is in the 5-series/E-Class range no matter how much initial torque it presents the segment dictates something with two more holes.
4Motion all-wheel-drive is standard on upper models and optional on the base SE and SEL trim packages. An eight-speed Aisin automatic transmission delivers the power to the pavement. Overall, prices range from $36,840 to $45,940.
The Arteon profile reminds us of a Tesla Model S, but this is no Tesla
Styling-wise the fastback profile gives the impression of a Tesla Model S which is a good thing in this period of SUVs all day every day. But the Arteon is no Tesla. It exhibits features typical of so many sedans that it really doesn’t stand out and that’s a problem. It’s a fairly nice-looking, competent sedan in a dying segment that no one was asking for in the first place.
But like GM, VW marches to the beat of its own drummer. We just hope that the drummer isn’t marching toward a cliff.