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What Is the VW Arteon and Why Does No One Want to Buy It?

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VW Arteon

Image Source: Norbert Aepli, Switzerland, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s a bird! No, it’s a plane! No, it’s a sleek, aerodynamic, cobalt blue frame of a car flying down the highway, complete with rims that look like ninja throwing stars that would make Shredder blush. It’s the VW Arteon!

Sounds incredible right? Well, as it turns out, not exactly. Like Superman, it may seem like the Arteon has appeal because of the shiny wondrous exterior. Ultimately, however, it’s a forgotten treasure that people somehow overlooked.

In the first two years on the market, Volkswagen sold a mere 6,000 Arteons, which was just barely enough to keep it from being a total failure. You would be hard-pressed though to find an automobile from a major car company that did this badly. If this still isn’t ringing any bells, to put it in another context, the VW Arteon narrowly outsold the e-Golf, which was discontinued in 2019.

One has to wonder, though, exactly why the Arteon is such an automotive dud. The car looks amazing and performs just as well. The only conclusion one can draw is that it is the hefty price tag.

What Is the VW Arteon?

VW Arteon

Tokumeigakarinoaoshima, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Arteon is VW’s answer to an upmarket mid-size car. In terms of other similar cars, it performs a little better than the Passat with nearly a 100 horsepower advantage. The Arteon came out in 2019 as a means to replace the VW CC Sedan. In 2021, a slightly modified version of the Arteon was released as an attempt to boost the model, but it seemed like the last gasps of a dying animal. In the U.S., VW tried to release this modified version, as more appealing-looking for the American consumer and to make the inside controls completely digital.

The Arteon’s Roots: the Volkswagen CC

Another Volkswagen, the CC, is responsible for Arteon’s creation. VW’s effort to cash in on the late-2000s four-door fad was that automobile — for little money, and a choppy style at that. The CC was inspired by the Passat and was even known as the Passat CC for a period before being renamed simply CC, which stands for “Comfort Coupe.” It was stylish, having a low roofline and streamlined style. However, you will pay a price in terms of internal space, particularly head and leg room.

The CC was available in the United States with two engine options: a standard 2.0-liter quad-cylinder with 200 horsepower or a 3.6 version of VW’s VR6 engine with horsepower that goes up to 276. The basic engine was available with a manual transmission, while the V6 was only available with an automatic transmission. Full wheel drive with 4Motion was a premium choice.

The Advent of the Arteon

In 2017, VW unveiled the Arteon as the CC’s immediate replacement. While the style is attractive, it has a lot of similarities to the next-generation CC. VW, on the other hand, wanted people to know that the Arteon was geared as a higher-end vehicle compared to the CC.

VW even made a shooting brake version for Europe, which is just stunning. Unfortunately, only the basic liftback sedan is available in the United States. The Arteon arrived in the United States in 2019, and sales have been poor, to say the least. In its first year, VW only sold 2,449 in the United States. In 2020, just barely 3,600 units were sold. Last year, a mere 1,099 were sold. This year’s start appears to be even wors.

In the first quarter of 2022, VW sold only 47 Arteons, a 96 percent drop from the same period the previous year. That’s one of the worst sales declines of any model ever seen. Due to pathetic sales, the Arteon is already phased out in the Great White North. And, while the Arteon has recently received a boost in power, it may not be enough to preserve it. It likely won’t be long until it’s dropped from the roster in the United States.

Why Is the VW Arteon Worth the Money Over Other Similar Cars?

It seems it has been difficult for VW to relay the message to consumers via advertising that the Arteon is worth spending a few extra dollars on over other remarkably similar cars such as the Passat. By VW norms, the Arteon is regal and luxurious, and there it would be hard to dispute that there is a better-looking VW that is both comfy and practically functional. However, VW’s downfall when it comes to the Arteon, is that selling anything other than hatchbacks and pick-up trucks to families is nearly impossible unless the right marketing is deployed.

A major issue with the VW Arteon isn’t in the design, as you might imagine. Far from it. Actually, for the new model, VW is putting in a dual-clutch transmission with more than 300 horsepower and a shooting brake. Layer on top of this the very elegant appearance of the car and surely design isn’t the issue. No, the issue is that these upgrades are only happening for the European market, meaning there’s little hope that the car’s sales will increase stateside

What’s the VW Arteon Driving Experience Like?

By any standards, the Arteon is a solid and reliable vehicle. Sure, it isn’t specially made for the track and isn’t especially fast or accurate around bends. It is, however, a stable vehicle that you can count on. Even with twenty-inch rims, the adaptive dampers lessen the ride bump and keep the drive more pleasant. With the four-motion all-wheel drive, you can easily drive over harsh conditions such as mud and snow.

The main issue with the Arteon’s driving is its lack of athleticism. Consumers don’t necessarily need a sporty car. Still, when they spend an exorbitant amount on a vehicle such as the Arteon, an athletic car is surely something consumers want, and even expect.

What Does the Arteon Look Like on the Inside?

VW Arteon Interior

Vauxford, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Say what you will about the speed or turn performance, VW has done an excellent job with the interior of the Arteon. The stale post-Diesel gate interior is long gone and has been upgraded, to say the least. Most would agree, even the die-hard VW fans, that the company waited a little too long before upgrading from the post-Diesel gate interior. The Arteon feels a notch ahead of usual Volkswagens due in part to the warm ambient lighting. Another reason it’s a cut above typical Volkswagens is the digital cockpit — this makes a tremendous difference!

By far the nicest thing about the inside of the Arteon is its size. The trunk is already enormous. If it’s not big enough, the folding seats provide a cross-over-like load of space.

The Price of an Arteon

Unless you live in Beverly Hills or the equivalent, the Arteon is anything but cheap. The standard retail price is around $40,750. To put this in perspective, that’s also the same price as a fully equipped GTI Autobahn trim. And if you buy the premium Arteon with the four-motion AWD, it can run up to nearly $50,000. At these prices, they might have to change the name from Volkswagen to ‘The New Tesla.’

If you’re set on a sedan, a well-equipped Kia Stinger GT or Acura TLX might be sportier at that price point. Are you more practical? For considerably less, you can have a Hyundai Sonata with N-Line performance or a more fuel-efficient hybrid variant.

Alternatively, as most avid consumers out there know, a more opulent vehicle with similar performance, the Audi A4 is around the same price as the Arteon. The Audi also comes equipped with an all-wheel drive. Given this disparity, it’s easy to understand why VW might not sell as many of these beautiful cars as we’d like.

New Features for the 2022 Arteon

Volkswagen has improved the turbocharged engine in the Arteon for 2022 and married it with a new gearbox. Its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine now produces 300 horsepower (32 extra horses) and torque of 295 pound-feet (up 37). The traditional eight-speed automatic has been replaced by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

The starting price of the Arteon has been raised by $3,000 to compensate for the newly adopted R-Line aesthetic option, which includes 18-inch wheels, sensors in the front and back, and device charging that’s wireless as standard on the entry-level SE grade. Drive that is all-wheel is now standard on the SEL R-Line, and a 20-inch metallic wheelset is now available as an option.

Engine and Performance

A 300-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter engine paired to seven-speed double-clutch automated gearbox power the Arteon. Front-wheel drive is normal on the SEL and SEL Premium, however, all-wheel drive is optional on the SE. The Arteon comes standard with 18-, 19-, or 20-inch wheels, depending on the trim level. Standard adaptive suspension dampers adjust to your driving style automatically or may be manually adjusted to Comfort, Normal, or Sport.


The ride is smooth and controlled regardless of the setting. The precise driving and good handling are reminiscent of the 10 Best-winning Golf GTI, but this huge VW is anything but a sports sedan.

Gas Mileage

The Arteon’s fuel efficiency estimations for 2022 have yet to be provided by Volkswagen. The engine is expected to have a higher power output and newly adopted gearbox to affect the stats from last year’s model, which were rated at up to 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. We can evaluate its real-world mpg once it’s tested on a highway fuel-economy route, which is part of the most rigorous testing programs. Visit the EPA’s website for additional information on the Arteon’s fuel efficiency.

Financing for the Arteon — Or Any Vehicle You Choose

Interested in purchasing the Arteon for yourself? Red Mountain Funding has the financing options you need for whatever vehicle you’re interested in. Contact us today to get started.

Vans Versus Buses: What’s The Difference?

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Both vans and buses are popular options, when it comes to transportation by vehicle. Plus, from the perspective of someone with a passion for all things automotive, these can be especially exciting vehicle types. After all, there is a large amount of variety when it comes to both buses and vans, and so many ways to customize and modify your vehicle.

Some people may not care all that much about the technical distinction between a “bus” and a “van.” As it stands, much of the time, these two terms are used interchangeably. However, other car fans would disagree with this level of apathy. For that reason, whilst visiting an online car forum, you can probably dig up a heated debate (or two) over the true difference between a van and a bus.

At times, this sort of distinction can grow a bit murky. To this day, there is a fair deal of disagreement surrounding the technical difference between a van and a bus. Still, many car lovers have taken strong stances on this matter, even if they contend with the next person’s ideas.

So, what is really true? Are we able to truly distinguish between a bus and a van, in a way that all or most car fans should be able to agree with? That is exactly what we plan to look at, today.

What’s the Difference Between a Van and a Bus?

Vans Versus Buses

Even in the car lover’s community, there can still be some disagreement over the difference between a bus and a van. It can be difficult to find an objective position on the matter, due to the conviction behind many individual viewpoints.

Nonetheless, it is certainly worth seeking out the most objective distinctions between these two well-known vehicles. So, let’s examine a couple of the common distinctions between vans and buses.

What They Are Designed to Carry

Although there will always be some exceptions to this rule, buses and vans do have a distinct difference, when it comes to what they’re designed to carry from location to location.

Above all else, a bus is intended to transport (usually large) groups of people from place to place. Vans tend to have a bit more versatility, in this regard. While a van can be employed to transport individuals, vans are also suited for transporting various goods.

A van tends to have more versatility, in this respect. This includes the use of certain specially equipped vans, which can be utilized by television stations, serving as what is essentially a mobile studio. Postal services, courier companies, and other types of businesses or organizations can use a van to help transport goods.

The Positioning of Windows

Red Van

Generally speaking, a bus is going to have windows that are located on both the side walls and the back of the vehicle. Well, what if the vehicle in question has solid walls, as well as a solid back door? Then there is a huge chance that this vehicle is actually a van, rather than a bus. However, this isn’t necessarily a rule that’s set in stone. It does serve as a good starting point, though, if you are unsure whether a particular vehicle is a bus or a van.

Where the Driver of the Vehicle Sits

There are certainly some exceptions to this, especially when it comes to older van models. Still, a common distinction between modern buses and vans relates to where the driver is positioned within the vehicle. Is the driver’s seat positioned over the top of the front wheels, with nothing additional placed in front of them? If this is the case, then there is a good chance that the vehicle you’re driving is a bus.

Alternatively, what if the driver’s seat is positioned behind the vehicle’s front wheels? What if you’re not actually situated at the very front of the vehicle? If you’re sitting behind the front seat in this way, then the vehicle is most likely a van.

What Is Van Short For?

The word “van,” as we use it today, is actually derived from the word “caravan.” Of course, a van wasn’t always the type of transportation we would expect to see, in modern times. In fact, the term “van” as a derivative of “caravan” actually existed prior to the popularization of motor vehicles — when literal caravans were still in use.

In the mid-1800s, the word “van” was used to describe a covered wagon that was employed to transport goods between locations. The word “caravan,” itself, is significantly older, however. There is evidence of “caravan” being used as far back as the mid-1600s.

Common Types of Vans

As we touched upon earlier, vans are a highly versatile mode of transportation. Whether you are hoping to move people or different kinds of goods, a van could be suited to your needs.

The Full-Size Van

The Full-Size Van

Technically, “full-size van” is a term that can be used to describe any van larger than a minivan. A variety of different types of vans can fall under this category, with a wide array of potential uses. Typically, full-size vans are large and boxy in appearance, featuring a short hood, as well as a substantial capacity for transporting cargo or passengers. The earliest full-size van to be released by a major car manufacturer was the Ford Econoline in 1969.

The Step Van

The Step Van

This kind of van is popular in North America. The name gives us a pretty accurate description of what this van actually is — it’s a van where the driver is afforded an especially easy means to step in and out of the vehicle.

Often, you will see step vans being used in professions where a driver must repeatedly step in and out of their van, in order to perform a service. For instance, courier companies, delivery services, and even the US Postal Service’s parcel division typically utilize step vans to deliver packages via mail. Much of the time, step vans will be driven with the vehicle’s door remaining open. These vans tend to be even boxier in shape than many other types of vans. Additionally, they generally have higher rooftops than other kinds of vans, as well as wider bodies. However, it is extremely rare that a step van will be used in order to transport passengers. More and more we’re seeing the step van used as a food truck.

The Panel Van

The Panel Van

Commonly known as a sedan delivery or cargo van, the panel van is a small cargo vehicle that lack windows on both the sides and rear of the vehicle. This lack of windows can be especially handy when it comes to providing riders with improved security, compared to some other types of vans. However, most times this type of van is used for the transportation of goods, not people.

Often times small business that have to travel short distances will use a panel van for delivery services or to transport their equipment. For example, a florist delivering fresh displays for a wedding. Or, a plumber, painter, locksmith or carpet cleaner that needs to bring with tools and small equipment.

The Luton (and Box) Van

The Luton Van

If you are the owner of a standard driver’s license, then this is the largest van you can legally drive on the road. Whether you opt for a Luton van or a box van, you will receive a raised, closed cargo area. If you’re hoping to transport a large amount of cargo from one location to the next, a Luton or box van is likely the way to go. These vans are hefty, providing drivers with a substantial amount of storage space. Specifically, if you decide upon a box van, you’ll receive a cargo area that is separate from the vehicle’s cabin. Alternatively, this is all integrated within a standard Luton van.

Is a 15-Passenger Van Considered a Bus?

Actually, a 15-passenger van and a 15-passenger bus are different vehicles, altogether. There are actually a number of key differences between these two kinds of vehicles, which also leads one to be far safer than the other.

More often than not, a 15-passenger bus is going to be far safer to drive than a 15-passenger van. A 15-passenger bus features dual rear wheels, which can actually be highly useful to avoid dangerous rollovers. The construction of a 15-passenger bus also leads to additional protection, if an accident does occur. With a 15-passenger van, when an accident takes place, the vehicle’s occupants aren’t going to be as well protected. Plus, they are more likely to experience rollovers, in the first place.

Compared to the 15-passenger van, a 15-passenger bus is also significantly more comfortable, for all of its occupants. For one, riders are given substantially more headroom, allowing for an easier and more natural fit. A 15-passenger bus also possesses a useful center aisle, which makes navigation within the vehicle far simpler than in a van, which has a curb-side aisle. Finally, bucket seats (found in buses) are typically quite a bit more comfortable than bench seats (found in vans).

How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Minibus?

The average cost of a minibus is going to depend on a few factors. For instance, if you buy a new model, then you are obviously going to be handing over more money. That being said, a brand-new minibus can cost upwards of $50,000. On the other hand, if you opt instead for a used minibus, you’re going to get a lower price. Typically, a used minibus will cost somewhere between $10,000 and $35,000. This is a large range, but the cost is going to depend upon factors such as mileage, age, engine size, seating capacity, comfort features, and more.

How Much Would an Old Bus Cost?

Although the cost of an old bus will vary, they can often be found on the cheaper side. For instance, it’s quite normal to pay less than $10,000 for a vehicle, when you’re shopping around on the used bus market.

21-window 1965 VW Type II

Image Credit: Barrett-Jackson

However, it depends on what kind of bus we’re talking about. For example, a well-cared for VW bus has actually appreciated with time. The average price of a VW microbus is around $50,000-65,000. And, if you can find a rare VW, you might be looking at six figures. Like, this 21-window 1965 VW Type II that sold for $302,500 at Barrett-Jackson in 2017:

Learn More About VW Buses

vintage vwVolkswagen released the first MicroBus in 1950, a year after DKW Schnellaster came out with their bus. VW called it a bus, while DKW called it a van. So, technically the first bus was actually a van!

Are you interested in learning more about the history and usability of the VW bus? Then keep reading: From Cargo to Counterculture to Car Shows—a History of the VW Bus.

And, for the real fans, shop our Vintage VW Bus collection and show your Volkswagen love to the world.

From Cargo to Counterculture to Car Shows—a History of the VW Bus

The History of the VW Bus

Disclaimer: Some links on this page are affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase through these links. See our full disclaimer here.

Despite conventional wisdom, the VW Bus didn’t begin life as a solution for conveying groups of surfers and surfboards to the beach, nor did it immediately serve as a symbol of insubordination—or rock and roll. The iconic vehicle wasn’t born to transport bands and equipment to Woodstock, though that’s precisely what it did in later years. Despite its eventual affiliations with the American counterculture, the VW Bus had rather humble beginnings in a Dutch importer’s notebook.

What arose from the initial sketches, however, wound up becoming a classic car with a nearly 70-year history. How did the VW Bus rise from simple factory transport vehicle to counterculture symbol, to a classic car so iconic it’s still featured on VW Bus t-shirts to this day? Follow us along the long, strange history of the VW Bus and find out.

The VW Bus was an Importer’s Dream

The VW Bus

In 1947, Ben Pon was a Dutch V importer tasked with importing Volkswagen’s familiar Beetles to the United States and other locales. He visited the VW factory in Berlin and was immediately inspired by the squatty transport vehicles that shuttled parts around the factory. These vehicles—a stripped-down version of the Beetle built on the same Type 1 chassis—were the epitome of what Hitler envisioned as a “people’s car” (the literal translation of Volkswagen).

Back at home, Pon sketched an improved version of the Type 1 truck he believed could serve to transport people and things. The result? A van that looked more like a shortened version of a bus than a van, but captured the attention of VW chiefs in Berlin. So, how did we get the familiar profile seen on vintage car shirts the world over?

Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter

Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter

From Pon’s sketch, Volkswagen developed the Type 2 Transporter built on the same principles as the original Type 1—a rear-mounted, air-cooled, four-cylinder engine—and the first products that would see wide production rolled off the line in 1950. By this time, instead of the box-on-wheels Pon had proposed, engineers had fine-tuned the microbus and developed numerous body styles and uses. Most significantly, VW had begun to incorporate the split windscreen concept known as “The Splitty,” which would define the window stylings of the classic VW Bus for the next two decades.

By the mid-’50s, Type 2 had arrived on American shores and become the first real entry in a long line of cargo and passenger vans. Consumers realized its capacity for moving both people and things, just as Ben Pon had a decade prior, and it became a welcome solution for both instead of the full-size cars and trucks that had been in use before. Better yet, consumers quickly became aware of just how easily Type 2 could be converted into just about anything the owner wanted.

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VW Bus Versus VW Van

Back in 1950 Volkswagen released the first “MicroBus”, which is why most car enthusiasts will refer to it as the VW Bus and not the VW Van. However, here’s a little more history for you. The DKW Schnellaster had put out the DKW F89 L in 1949, but they called it just a van. So, technically, the first MicroBus was actually called a van.

The Volkswagen Bus Counterculture

Volkswagen Bus Counterculture

As Volkswagen busied itself with forming partnerships and creating camper conversion kits to diversify the Transporter, Americans were focused on its looks. Far different from the boxy, imposing front grill profiles of American full-size cars driven by the well-to-do, the original VW Bus stood out in all the right ways. Its friendly profile, rounded face, and VW logo were precisely what those on the fringes of society wanted—a stark opposition to the cars driven by “the establishment.”

As a result, multiple factions of the counterculture movement embraced the VW Bus as a way of rejecting mainstream society. It saw various uses over the tumultuous 1960s and ’70s, including transporting activists to rallies and protests and even—in the case of one notable 1966 VW Transporter—shuttling black children in then-segregated Charleston, South Carolina, to and from school. In any case, whether the painting on the side of this beloved slab van featured peace signs or profanities, the counterculture made the VW Bus its own, as evidenced by the vintage VW Bus t-shirts, backpacks, stickers and other merch of the day.

VW Bus: Function and Fashion

Through the prime years of America’s counterculture, the VW Bus went through a bit of a style transformation. From the Splitty, the Bus quickly moved to the Bay model in 1967, which had a larger body and increased capacity. With the introduction of the Bay Camper Bus in 1975, Volkswagen fully realized the VW Buses potential as a camper or mobile home, inspiring other manufacturers to follow suit.

No matter what the model name, however, the VW Bus remained instantly recognizable among a sea of boxy, imposing American muscle cars, and its reputation as a “hippie van” or “beach-mobile” only grew. Fortunately, with increased capacity, later versions of the VW Bus did lend themselves quite well to both—a relatively sparse interior with rubber mats meant the ability to stow almost anything, or anyone. The mechanics were relatively inexpensive to maintain, simple to work on, and altogether formed the perfect vehicle for America’s fringes.

Start Shopping: Classic VW Bus

The VW Bus Lives On

VW bus culture

Today, collectors, car enthusiasts, and VW owners alike continue to revere the VW Bus for what it was—a revolutionary mechanical idea that came to define a social revolution. In the years since, many car manufacturers have introduced conversion vans, cargo vans, and minivans, and none of them have reached the iconic status of the VW Bus. The love that still exists for these vans is evident in many a vintage car shirt, car show, and beach parking lot across the nation, 70-plus years after its development.

While the latest versions of the VW bus were not released in the US, and the VW Bus line as a whole ceased production in 2014, the Bus isn’t dead yet. Collectors continue to demand early, Splitty body styles—sometimes to the tune of $100,000 and more—and more and more collectors are millennials, which truly speaks to the cross-generational appeal of the VW Bus. Perhaps even better is the fact that VW plans to release an electric version of the minibus as early as 2022.

Custom Merch for VW Bus Lovers

In honor of the impending return of the VW Bus, as well as the many years of rich history supplied by this beloved model, we’ve added VW Bus merch to our shop! We have tons of gift ideas for car lovers here.

Featured Volkswagen Apparel

 If you appreciate this iconic symbol of peace, love, and rock-n-roll as much as we do, now you can find a way to show the love during auto shows, race weekends, or even a comfortable day at home.

Vintage VW Bus BackpackVintage VW Bus Backpack
This medium size Vintage VW Backpack is just what you need for daily use or sports activities! The pockets (including one for your laptop) give plenty of room for all your necessities, while the water-resistant material will protect them from the weather.
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Vintage VW Bus T-Shirt
Vintage VW Bus T-Shirt

You’ve now found the staple t-shirt of your wardrobe – the Vintage VW Bus T-Shirt. It’s made of a thicker, heavier cotton, but it’s still soft and comfy. And the double stitching on the neckline and sleeves add more durability to what is sure to be a favorite!
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Buying a Gift for the VW Bus Fan in your Life?

Vintage VW Bus Mug
Vintage VW Bus Mug
Imagine your friend drinking morning coffee, evening tea, or something in between in this Vintage VW Bug Mug (we didn’t even mean to rhyme there, but it’s got a nice ring to it… Bug Mug!) It’s sturdy and glossy with a vivid print that’ll withstand the microwave and dishwasher. A fun and affordable gift for the Volkswagen fan in your life!
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VW Bus Sticker
Vintage VW Bus Sticker
Another affordable gift option – the same fun vintage VW bus design on a sticker! The vintage Volkswagen sticker is printed on durable, high opacity adhesive vinyl which makes it perfect for regular use, as well as for covering other stickers or paint. The high-quality vinyl ensures there are no bubbles when applying the sticker.
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Check out our full line of Vintage VW Products on our shop.