This weekend's Chicago motor show will play host to an accessorised Weekend edition of the new Volkswagen Atlas, adding unique wheels, a clever new expanding roof pod and other holidaying goodies.

2017_volkswagen_atlas_weekend_concept_01

But, kitted up or not, the new SUV's Australian potential is looking slim.

Volkswagen Group Australia has previously signalled its interest in the Atlas, and in 2014 a senior spokesperson told CarAdvice that the company was "very keen" on securing a local launch for the new model - previewed at the time by the CrossBlue concept.

2017_volkswagen_atlas_weekend_concept_03

Today, however, Volkswagen Australia communications manager Paul Pottinger said the Atlas was now looking to be an "increasingly unlikely" prospect.

As with the American version of the Passat, introduced in 2011, the Atlas does not boast the interior fit and finish that, while almost par for the course in Europe, has allowed the Australian arm to market its range as a semi-premium offering.

This is a car built for the American market, which does not see Volkswagen as a premium brand. And, while it has its detractors, the brand has had success positioning itself here as a halfway point between the likes of Mazda and Ford, and the more established premium offerings like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

2017_volkswagen_atlas_12

Although the Atlas will offer some level of off-road capability with Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel drive system, it is unlikely the company's Australian arm could price it competitively against obvious rivals like the Ford Everest - particularly if it cannot guarantee a more premium feel in the cabin.

A no-go for Atlas in Australia would seem to leave Volkswagen without a seven-seat SUV here, although the upcoming Tiguan Allspace will offer some relief on the three-row front.

Volkswagen will also reveal a new-generation Touareg in the year ahead, although the company has yet to confirm if its top SUV will expand from the current model's five-seat-only configuration to include a seven-seat option.

2017_volkswagen_atlas_14

The brand's local SUV range will grow even further with the debut of a new sub-Tiguan model that would rival offerings like the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V, both hugely popular in that segment.