The Volkswagen Arteon was a good looking car, came from a loved brand, and had a powerful engine.
Unfortunately, it was only available locally for two years before its departure – at the same time the 2020 facelift arrived in the European market.
Why did it leave South Africa? The demand for SUVs is part of the answer.
The Arteon was a stylish car built by VW and aimed squarely at the executive sedan market segment.
It was the replacement for the CC, and assumed the new design of Volkswagens at the time.
A long sloping roofline, 20-inch alloys, and an aggressive grille that blended seamlessly into the lights and accent lines of the nose gave the car a striking appearance and made it a clear competitor to the likes of BMW’s and Mercedes-Benz’s sedans.
The starting price in 2018 was R599,900.
This got you a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine that produced 130kW and 350Nm of torque, mated to a 6-speed DSG gearbox that offered smooth and quick gear changes.
The range-topping R-Line 4Motion model cost only R100,000 more.
It added all-wheel drive, and had a significantly higher output of 206kW from its 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine – while offering 350Nm of torque.
This meant that it accelerated from 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds and was able to reach a top speed of 250km/h.
All cars received leather-clad interiors with high-end safety and connectivity features no matter the price, while the R-Line added extras to enhance the car’s “sportiness.”
Despite simultaneously offering more power, a lower starting price, and – in my opinion – a better appearance than models from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, it did not remain in the South African market.
Following its local launch in 2018, new Arteon models are no longer offered in SA.
Before the European release of the facelifted Arteon and Arteon “shooting brake” in June of 2020, Volkswagen SA “made the decision to not replace the outgoing Arteon with the facelifted model”.
A VW spokesperson said the reason for this was that the market demand shifted away from sedans toward SUVs.
The spokesperson added that “the top-end sedan segment of the market has experienced significant decline over the past few years”.
At the end of its lifecycle, VW had sold 420 Arteons in South Africa – with many fine examples available on the second-hand market.