VW Atlas
Marc Stern's picture

Atlas, long Tiguan carry important sales messages for VW

When the new long Tiguan appears in dealer showrooms this year and when the Atlas gets into the hands of buyers each will be carrying two important messages for VW.

For the last 40 years or so – since the last VW pickup based on the then-Rabbit frame – the automaker has not had much in the way of truck-like or SUV-like offerings in the U.S. market. In the meantime, beginning in the late 1970s, America has been in love with anything truck-like whether it is a full-fledged pickup or an SUV based on a truck platform.

The industry recognizes the importance of trucks and SUVs to the bottom line. Expanding their truck and SUV offerings, carmakers have also created new submarkets within the overall vehicle marketplace. For example, the 1980s were to see the rise of the minivan, based on a car platform, but nevertheless considered a light-truck. Minivans were reasonably fashionable throughout this period until they lost ground to the crossover utility vehicle, an invention of the last decade.

Crossovers once called mid-sized SUVs

Honestly, crossovers were, at one time, known as mid-sized SUVs, but they gained their market segment when talented marketeers assigned them the CUV category. New VW SUVs carry best warranty

With that said, though, it’s easy to see where Volkswagen has been losing ground. With a car-centric lineup, it has been losing potential sales to CUVs and SUVs, as well as trucks, VW has felt the impact of its over-reliance on cars.

It is true that for the last few years, VW has had a couple of competent crossovers to offer, the compact Tiguan and mid-sized Touareg. Both are two-row crossovers that are well equipped. The problem with both is that their base price points are still too high for much of the market, making them relatively slow sellers in the face of an overall crossover market that has taken off.

VW believes it has the answer in two models it will speak to the heart of the U.S. market, the Atlas, three-row crossover (full-sized) and the new mid-sized, three-row Tiguan. Tiguan and Atlas are part of VW’s push into the heart of the U.S. light-truck market, according to Derrick Hatami, recently appointed to head VW’s sales and marketing in the U.S.

“We are confident that the all-new Atlas and Tiguan have the right features and design elements to be successful and grab market share from the heart of the SUV market. Combined with our best-in-class warranty and competitive price positions, both the Atlas and Tiguan are very attractive packages,” the sales boss emphasized.

New crossovers fulfill multiple sales roles

Both crossovers have a second important role to fulfill. Not only are they poised to take a bigger share of the active SUV-crossover market for VW, but they are also slated to help the automaker meet stiff Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards. In a twist, carmakers that offer both cars and light trucks have an easier time meeting CAFÉ rules. The reason is that light trucks face different rules than cars with easier requirements. VW’s lineup has been car-centric, dominated by sedans, hatchbacks and coupes – Golf, Passat, Beetle – for a long time.

Therefore, the new Atlas three-row crossover and the larger three-row Tiguan – it is fully 10 inches longer than the compact Tiguan crossover that is still available at VW dealers – are doing double-duty for the automaker in sales and CAFÉ.

VW hopes that the new crossovers will attract conquest sales (sales to owners of other similar makes) with its new, sweetened warranty. The revised warranty available on the Tiguan and Atlas is transferable. It covers six years or 72,000 miles, whichever comes first. It is nearly double warranties offered by competitors. Hatami, formerly sales and marketing boss at Hyundai, said that while the Hyundai and Kia warranties are similar to VW’s new plan, there is a significant difference. The Hyundai-Kia plan isn’t transferable beyond five years or 60,000 miles from the sales date; VW’s is transferable for the entire warranty period. It is an essential piece of the VW Atlas’ sales message, as well as that for the new Tiguan.

Source: Automotive News

Subscribe to Torque News on YouTube.

Follow Torque News on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.