Volkswagen plans an 'Atlas family' of SUVs and crossovers

18 December 2017 - Autoblog

Volkswagen plans an 'Atlas family' of SUVs and crossovers

After seven months on sale, the Volkswagen Atlas can claim a pleasant sales graph; dealers moved 5,154 units of the new crossover last month.

That's leagues off class heavyweights like the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, but neck-and-neck with luxury totems such as the BMW X5, Acura MDX, and Cadillac XT5. Hinrich Woebcken, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America's North American Region, intimated the company has more plans for the Atlas. During an event for the Mk7 Jetta, Woebcken said VW wants "the Atlas family" to include a volume-selling B-segment entry.

The various puzzle pieces point to the introduction of a five-seat version of the Atlas, perhaps something with a sportier bent, or off-road pretensions. At this year's New York Auto Show, Woebcken told reporters that VW was already working on a five-seat SUV that would be built at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant. That development arose as part of the company pivot to a "family friendly" carmaker serving America's ravening hunger for crossovers and SUVs.

In November, Volkswagen filed trademark applications for the names "Atlas Cross Sport" and "Atlas Allsport." It's impossible to say where they'd be applied, but Atlas Cross Sport strikes us as a long-delayed echo of the five-seat Cross Coupe GTE concept VW showed at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Trims like the Golf Alltrack and Audi Allroad have meant cladding and stance suggesting some benevolent SPF 30 adventure at the other end of a ferry and a gravel road. We could see the Atlas Cross Sport filling the standard five-seater slot, the Atlas Allsport playing its chunky brother.

VW also applied to trademark the name "Apollo," a name it once used for a small, two-door sedan in Brazil.

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