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.
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.