The Volkswagen Atlas is reportedly what the company’s new three-row, seven-seat SUV will be branded as in the United States.
Earlier this year, Hinrich Woebcken, CEO of Volkswagen America, claimed that his subsidiary would have the ability to choose a “much easier to pronounce, American-style name” for the vital new model.
The new SUV will be built at Volkswagen’s factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as well as one of Volkswagen’s jointly operated plants in China.
Earlier reports had suggested that vehicle would wear the Teramont name. That could still very well happen if the company decides to pursue a split naming strategy, with one name for the American version and another for the Chinese model.
If the report is true, the Atlas would signal an end, at least in America, to Volkswagen’s tradition of using names beginning with the letter T for its crossover vehicles.
Based on the MQB architecture for front- and all-wheel drive cars with a transverse engine layout, the Atlas will feature seven seats across three rows. Despite being larger than the Touareg, the Atlas will be cheaper and priced against mainstream competitors, such as the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander, which is sold in Australia as the Kluger.
According to the industry publication, production of the Atlas will begin later this year, but sales in the US won’t start until the second quarter of 2017.
The new crossover can’t come a moment too soon, as Volkswagen’s US sales are down 12 percent this year to 231,268, thanks primarily to an ageing model lineup and the effects of the Dieselgate saga.
Considering the Atlas is positioned below the Touareg despite its larger size, using the ‘less-premium’ interior of the Skoda is a logical approach.
Volkswagen’s local arm has declared its interest in the Atlas, but it’s unknown, at this stage, whether the model will be produced in right-hand drive.