Could VW Be Bringing Its Sexiest Car to America?

A recent patent filing may offer a glimmer of hope.

volkswagen arteon shooting brake rear
Ingo Barenschee

The Volkswagen Arteon has a lot to offer. The midsize sedan looks outstanding, is comfortable and spacious, and even excels in the winter, thanks to its available all-wheel drive. And there's a good bet you've never seen one in the wild, because no one buys them. While sales jumped 47% year over year in 2020, the aging Passat still outsold the Arteon six times over.

Why does no one buy the Arteon? Well, paying nearly $50,000 for a VW halo sedan is a tough ask. And VW of America has not given our version any of the cool options Europeans score on the Arteon, like a high-performance R version, VW's sportier dual-clutch transmission and a shooting brake (er, station wagon) body style.

But there's some evidence that may change soon. CarBuzz found that Volkswagen filed documents with the USPTO to patent the Arteon shooting brake's body style here.

Patenting the design is no guarantee that VW will bring the Arteon Shooting Brake to America. Going all-in on the low-selling Arteon by catering to enthusiasts would be an about-face on VW's U.S. product strategy of late: trimming down the traditional car lineup and focusing on more profitable SUVs as the brand converts to EVs.

And as painful as it may be to admit, manufacturers — like VW, notably — have probably abandoned the road-going wagon segment in the U.S. with good reason — very few people want them. The mythical wagon buyer would exist upmarket, where VW does want to position the Arteon. But paying upmarket prices for a VW would still be a tough sell for non-SUV buyers — unless VW added something crazy like a plug-in hybrid engine into the mix.

Patenting the Arteon shooting brake design (and the grille for the Arteon R sedan) in America does suggest that VW is at least considering fleshing out the Arteon lineup for U.S. buyers. That said, VW responded to CarBuzz with a crisp "no plans for this market," which indicates those plans — if they ever materialize — may not be imminent.

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