When Volkswagen unveiled the VW Atlas, it declared that this SUV is being developed for the United States and is set to arrive as a 2018 model. It also unveiled its Chinese version – the VW Teramont. Essentially, VW developed the Atlas to further penetrate the auto markets in the US and China. But now, it seems VW is seriously considering selling the new SUV in some markets in Europe.
To note, the German carmaker has already disclosed it would sell the Atlas – powered by a diesel engine -- in Russia, confident that this SUV would be popular in the country. However, selling the Atlas in other parts of Europe is another thing. Before doing so, VW has to carefully study first if bringing the Atlas to European markets is worth it. Elmar-Marius Licharz, the chief for full-size product lines at VW, told Autocar that the smaller Touareg SUV might be a better product offering for most of the markets in Europe because of its size.
Underpinned by VW’s Modular Transverse Matrix architecture, or MQB, the 2018 VW Atlas employs the brand’s current design language. It measures 198.3 inches in length, 77.9 inches in width and 69.6 inches in height – making it much larger (plus 121 mm longer, 38 mm wider and 35 mm taller) than the Touareg. In fact, the 2018 VW Atlas is the largest SUV from the company to be built in the US. However, Licharz noted that the new Atlas might be too big to be parked in many European garages. Because of its large size, there is a need to determine first if there would be any demand for the Touareg in certain markets in Europe.
Upon launch in the US, the 2018 Atlas will be offered in two available powertrains. The first is the turbocharged direct-injection 2.0-liter 4-cylinder TSI engine that offers 238 hp (177 kW) of max output, while the second is the 3.6-liter VR6 engine capable of developing up to 280 hp (208 kW) of output. Both are paired to an eight-speed transmission. Meanwhile, the China-bound Teramont will be offered with three powertrain options – two versions of 2.0-liter TFSI engine that develop 186hp and 220hp of outputs and 2.5-liter V6 TFSI engine that delivers 299hp of output. All Teramont engines are paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
As for the possible European version of the Atlas, Licharz told Autocar that it could be powered by a diesel engine. VW had already tried installing a 2.0 TDI engine that could deliver around 188 hp. Licharz also said that if the European version of the VW Atlas receives the green light, the carmaker could manufacture the large SUV at its Chattanooga production facility in Tennessee, as the site still has idle capacity to accommodate this model.