VW Introduced A New Long Tiguan Based On The Atlas Crossover Platform.

Is Atlas-Clone Tiguan A Chance For Volkswagen To Maintain U.S. Control?

The introduction of a longer Tiguan at the Detroit Auto Show has some wondering whether VW will ever make good on its promise to let the U.S. handle its own marketing.

It seems strange that Volkswagen would compete with its U.S. subsidiary in its home market, but it isn't, honestly. VW has a history of inept marketing. Let's look at the Dieselgate scandal for a bit of enlightenment on our point.

About 14 years ago, a brand-new VW chief exec by the name of Martin Winterkorn held a series of strategy meetings in Wolfsburg where he and his advisers determined that VW would become the dominant player in the U.S. market by using diesel power. Winterkorn and company decided that they wanted to sell on the order of 1 million diesel cars per year here, significantly increasing the automaker’s yearly average sales across its lines.

Engines Wouldn’t Pass Emissions Tests

One of the problems they ran into almost immediately was the fact that the engine they were going to use to power the new diesel entries was too dirty. To clean them up would mean VW was going to have to strangle performance. And, they would also lose any mileage advantage, as well. What to do; what to do? The answer to some engineers was easy, use an “invisible” switch that would allow engines to “pass” emissions tests when they were detected and then reset the powerplant after the test completed.

You know, they almost got away it. VW told the world it had made "clean diesel" work and everyone agreed. That is, until some independent researchers found that there was something not-too-kosher about VW’s “clean diesel” vehicles. They just weren't clean, at all. In some cases, they were 40 times too dirty. But, the VW misinformation machine cranked up so the automaker could continue to show its diesels were clean, despite what some might be whispering about them.

It worked for a time, too, as no one believed that VW's diesels weren't clean. After all, emissions testing showed them to be clean, right, so they must be, most people thought. Little did anyone suspect VW had stacked the deck by using a hidden defeat device to make it appear as if its diesels were clean.

For six years, 2009-2015, the automaker had managed to keep its deep dark secret locked behind closed doors. The world continued to believe VW could make "clean diesel, but things were about to change as a group of researchers, looking at the Volkswagen "miracle" found something that was hardly miraculous at all, VW's was doing dirty diesels.

VW needed to keep the chimera of "clean diesel" alive and well because its marketing was based on the slogan. Still, it couldn't refute the findings of the researchers who were none to pleased that after sharing the data with the automaker, VW's response was a very lame, non-working patch and stony silence.


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I get that this is an opinion column, but the comparison between the Tiguan and Atlas is incorrect. While the Tiguan has 3 rows it does not compete with the Atlas. It's a compact vehicle with its optional 3rd row being for occasional kid duty. Think of the two has a Nissan Rogue (which also offers 3 rows) and a Nissan Pathfinder. This makes me doubt any other points in this column because the author doesn't even understand the basic differences between the models. Instead, using this false narrative that VWoA is being somehow undercut by The Volkswagen Group. Please understand what you're writing about before publishing articles that have no basis of fact.
I have to differ with you -- a third seat does not an argument make. Let's look at a couple of things. First of all, Wolfsburg admitted, when it turned over marketing chores for America to VWoA, that it really didn't know how to market to the U.S., let alone build a competitive model in the SUV space. With that said -- and understanding that fact -- it is not far-fetched to surmise that VW would likely believe that a 10-inch longer Tiguan would be a competitive SUV in the U.S. Further, it isn't far from reality to point out that the longer Tiguan was announced at NAIAS after VWoA announced the R-Line update for Atlas and that the announcement for Tiguan made a rather large deal about the third rear seat. Now, you are correct about the size of the long Tiguan. It is about the size of the Audi Q5 or Rogue but, by the same token, it is built using the same platform that is used for Atlas, down to the wheelbase. So, you have a long Tiguan, using the same wheelbase as found on the Atlas, offered with three rows. To Wolfsburg, it is the perfect-sized SUV for any market. You see, there is a certain myopia in Europe that says SUVs have to be a certain size, usually shorter and smaller than their U.S. counterparts. The size difference may only be inches, as in the case of the Audi Q7, but the smaller sizes used in Europe are generally looked upon as the proper sizes for SUVs and larger crossovers. You also argue that the long Tiguan, a vehicle with a 185.2-inch overall -- 15.4 feet -- is a compact. I submit that it is closer to full-sized than you think. After all, the Atlas is 16.5 feet long, about a foot longer than the long Tiguan. Again, the long Tiguan is Europe's idea of an SUV or crossover, for the most part. My argument points out that given VW's penchant for believing that if it isn't "invented here," as in Wolfsburg and nowhere else -- then it is not valid is a feeling the runs throughout the automaker. My references to the Dieselgate fiasco point this out graphically. Indeed, the emissions rigging scandal owed is piquancy to the "NIH" syndrome. Because the diesel wasn't going to use a "proper" VW solution, then it was unacceptable and had to be changed and made proper for the automaker. Given this argument, it is not hard to assume that Wolfsburg believes it can reassert itself as the marketing leader of the automaker, taking it back from Herndon because it is proper for VW. I could go on, but I will wrap this up with a statement that I do follow vehicles, especially VWs, Audis and related cars and crossovers, quite closely. And, given a very long career as an automotive writer who does keep up with vehicles and technology, I believe that your conclusion is wrong as I do "understand" what I am talking about when I write about a topic. My piece was my opinion and I will stand by my statements. You, of course, are entitled to your opinion, as well. As they say, that's what makes a car race.