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Atlas, Scout, up! and more - These are the new models Volkswagen Australia needs

With large SUV sales currently booming, Volkswagen's Atlas seven-seater could have a major impact in Australia.

Volkswagen can’t be accused of taking things easy. 

In recent years we’ve had the arrival of the new Golf and Touareg, as well as the addition of the all-new T-Cross and T-Roc. Let's not even mention the niche Arteon (now available in Shooting Brake form), and various go-fast offerings with GTI and R badges.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t more room for growth. Volkswagen has some exciting models in other markets around the world that have the potential to make an impact on its local operations, and we thinks these nameplates should come Down Under.

Atlas

The most obvious piece missing from Volkswagen Australia’s current line-up is a large, seven-seat SUV. Fortunately, that’s what the Atlas is, a more family-friendly alternative to the luxury-biased Touareg that would make a genuine rival to the likes of the Toyota Kluger, Hyundai Santa Fe and Mazda CX-9.

Unfortunately, while it’s built on the same ‘MQB’ platform as the likes of the Golf and Tiguan, the Atlas is made in the US and China for left-hand-drive markets. Volkswagen Australia is believed to have investigated the possibility of adding the Atlas several years ago but the numbers didn’t stack up.

Perhaps with the way car prices are rising, a fresh business case can be made…

Taigo 

The German brand was a late arrival to the compact SUV party but quickly caught up with the introduction of the T-Roc and T-Cross. But why have two compact SUVs when you can have three?

The Taigo was initially focused on - and designed by - Volkswagen Brazil but still uses the same platform as the Polo, so it has since gone into production in Europe for sale there. It’s positioned as a ‘coupe crossover’ alternative to the T-Cross, in large part thanks to its lower roofline.

Given the demand for SUVs, particularly compact models, shows no sign of slowing, the Taigo would be well-placed to support the T-Roc and T-Cross as we move towards a post-passenger car world.

up! 

This isn’t so much a new model but a comeback. Volkswagen Australia offered the car here between 2011 and 2014, but discontinued the model at the time - in large part - because it struggled to be price competitive due to the fact it was a European-designed and built city car.

It didn’t work in a market where its rivals cost less than $15k, but inflation, supply chain crisis and other issues have seen the entire micro car market rise steeply in value. So perhaps the time is right for another look at the up! in Australia?

After all, the Polo line-up starts at $25,250 before on-road costs, the Toyota Yaris range is priced from $23,740 and even the likes of the Suzuki Swift start at more than $20k, so the up! could be positioned at a higher price than before without causing any waves. 

Being a European model, the up! always felt like a more upmarket city car than its rivals, so the higher prices of today would suit it. It’s still a sophisticated and stylish compact car, and an all-electric option means it could be one of the most affordable tailpipe emissions-free models in Australia.

ID.Buzz

The electric wave is coming to Volkswagen Australia, with the ID.3 small car and ID.4 mid-size SUV leading the way. However, there is one model not yet confirmed that would seemingly make a big impact on the local market - the ID.Buzz.

This reborn Kombi combines one of the brand’s most iconic models from the past with its state-of-the-art future powertrain technology.

People movers aren’t big business in Australia, but to dismiss the ID.Buzz as ‘just a people mover’ would be to undersell its appeal. The ‘Kombi’ was a truly an iconic model and the ID.Buzz manages to recapture its spirit but with a modern twist.

For anyone considering a family-friendly electric car, this would have to be on their short-list… if it makes it to local showrooms.

Scout

It’s early days for the Scout brand, Volkswagen’s upcoming all-electric US-focused brand, but that’s precisely the right time for VW Australia to put up its hand for it.

The electric ute market looks set to grow in the coming years, becoming a key battleground for brands. After playing catch-up with the Amarok in the conventional ute market, Volkswagen can use Scout to be a front-runner in this new electric future.

Little is known about the details of the new Scout models beyond that the first two will be a pickup and an SUV. But frankly, that’s enough detail to know both would likely be popular models in the ute-and-SUV-loving local market.