We know sedans are dying. As products, they’re better than ever — cars like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Hyundai Sonata are no longer the boring white-bread grocery-getters of yore. They’re the best they’ve ever been, and they get even better when you move into the premium midsize segment. Unfortunately, many of these models have been ignored by buyers in favor of crossovers and SUVs. The VW Arteon is the poster child of that buyer neglect: VW has sold fewer than 50 Arteons so far in 2022.
The Arteon owes its existence to the Volkswagen CC. That car was VW’s attempted to get in on the four-door coupe craze of the late 2000s. Swoopy styling on a budget. It was based on the Passat and was even called the Passat CC for a short time before becoming just CC, which VW says stood for “Comfort Coupe.” It was handsome, with sleek styling and a low roofline. But that cost you in interior space, especially in head- and leg-room. Here in the U.S., the CC came with two engine choices: A base 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with 200 hp, or an optional 3.6-liter version of VW’s VR6 engine with 276 hp. A manual could be had with the base engine while the V6 was auto only. 4Motion all-wheel-drive was an option.
It was never a big seller. In its first year on the market in 2011, just under 30,000 were sold, its best year. Just three years later, sales had plunged to 9,995. By 2016, the CC’s final year on the market, just over 3,200 were sold. With sales numbers that fell that far in such a short amount of time, you’d think VW would throw in the towel on stylish mid-tier sedans. Apparently not.
The Arteon was introduced in 2017 as a direct successor to the CC. While the styling is handsome, you can almost call it a next-gen CC in its similarities. But VW wanted everyone to know that the Arteon was positioned to be more premium than the CC.
They even gave it a shooting brake version for Europe that’s handsome as hell. Here in the U.S., we have the standard liftback sedan. The Arteon came to the U.S. in 2019 and in the three years it’s been available here, sales have sucked. Just 2,449 were sold in the U.S. its debut year. Just over 3,600 were sold in 2020. Just 1,099 were sold last year. This year looks to be off to an even worse start.
VW sold just 47 examples of the Arteon in Q1 of 2022, a sales decline of 96 percent compared to the same period last year. That’s one of the worst sales drops I’ve ever seen on any model. The Arteon has already been discontinued in the Great White North due to low sales. And while the Arteon has just been updated with more power, that may not be enough to save it. It may not be long before it gets cut from the U.S. lineup, only to be replaced by another crossover.