A new report suggests that VW in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Australia are “reconsidering” importing the Volkswagen Atlas after all three markets initially “didn’t want” the seven-seater SUV.
At the moment, the Atlas is built in left-hand-drive guise only (in addition to being offered in North America, it is sold in China as the Teramont), but a report from Down Under quoting outspoken Volkswagen Group Australia boss Michael Bartsch says that could well change.
“The Atlas is being reconsidered. Originally Africa didn’t want it because it didn’t come in diesel, Britain didn’t want it because it was too big and the same with Japan,” Bartsch told motoring.com.au.
“But now everyone is reconsidering it; England is now reconsidering it, South Africa is reconsidering it; so we are going through a reappraisal of that car.
“Does that mean we will get it next year? No. Is it back on the agenda that is possible in three years’ time? Maybe. We are looking at the next generation of Atlas, that’s why I say start thinking three years and the next-generation vehicle.”
The Atlas runs on the Wolfsburg automaker’s familiar MQB platform, and measures more than five metres in length. In the United States, two powertrains are offered: a 2,0-litre TSI four-cylinder worth 177 kW and an ageing 3,6-litre VR6 mill worth 208 kW.
In March 2018, VW revealed the Atlas Tanoak concept, a unibody bakkie based on the Atlas.
[UPDATE: Volkswagen SA has since told CARmag.co.za that it has no plans to bring the Atlas to local shores, but says that the SUV is on the cards for certain other countries in Africa.]