Is Atlas-Clone Tiguan A Chance For Volkswagen To Maintain U.S. Control?
Apparently having crossed a line the researchers couldn't support, the group of West Virginia University researchers shared its findings with the Environmental Protection Agency that looked at the data and a few months later confronted VW with the data and findings. The environmental agency told VW that its products couldn't pass emissions tests and slapped the automaker with a Notice of Violation in September 2015. And, the rest, as the saying goes, is history. Dieselgate has become a household word, though not the type the automaker likes.
The key reason this was brought up here was to show the lengths that Wolfsburg would go to prove its point. The point was that it wanted to lead -- even create -- a market and demand. It could have, provided someone didn’t look too closely.
Moving to the Atlas/Tiguan issue. As is pretty evident, Wolfsburg seems to have a problem if it is not in control of everything. The parent automaker had some pretty harsh times following the Sept. 25, 2015, revelation that it was a diesel cheat. Wounded not so much by the news of the diesel fraud but by the fact that it was caught, Wolfsburg started to apologize to any audience that would listen. And it did apologize and apologize and apologize, apparently finally realizing no one was listening – and they still are apologizing and still no one listens.
Why would people listen in the first place? You see, things came out during the probe into the Dieselgate scam that were damning. For instance, VW’s engineering team decided to trash what could have been the best method of controlling NOx emissions, using Blue doping (urea formaldehyde), a process licensed by Mercedes-Benz. However, the team chose a poor control system.
They used an unworkable solution (trap reburning with no catalyst). That was why they implemented the cheat device. It was also why VW management kept it in place until the automaker was found out.
Is This A Stretch?
Now, if you have an engineering staff willing to do something that is clearly beyond the pale of legality, is it another stretch to think that VW would knowingly market the new and improved Tiguan to compete with -- and perhaps sink -- Atlas in the U.S.? Do you think that Wolfsburg might tilt things toward the Tiguan and away from Atlas? If the past is prolog anywhere, it is in Volkswagen. That appears to be why it is willing to counter-market against its own subsidiary's product with another so clearly aimed at the American market.
This conclusion is pretty evident. Some in VW must think it is a no-brainer. They must believe it is an easy way to get control back. Maybe they skipped basic Marketing 101 the day they discussed competing against your own products, who knows? What is more likely known is this, once the genie is out of the bottle, it isn't going back inside, at least no willingly. How much damage will this counter-selling do? That’s an unknown. More important, though for those who are pushing Tiguan, as "the Atlas killer," is the question, will it work? Apparently, they think it will, though, it is a rather myopic view that is more likely to harm both Tiguan and Atlas, in the long run than give Wolfsburg the clear-cut win it thinks it will obain.
The bottom line is this: if past is prolog, things may not work out as neatly as some in Wolfsburg believe they will. Dieselgate certainly has proven catastrophic for VW and it may just be that the counter-marketing push may work out the same way. Only time will tell if it will work or not.