Volkswagen plans more SUVs — and you might be able to subscribe to them

Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport concept
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends

Volkswagen’s American division sells more SUVs and crossovers than ever before, a trend that reflects carbuyers’ ongoing shift toward high-riding models. In 2018, the Tiguan and the Atlas made up about 50 percent of VW’s sales. The brand expects that figure will keep growing as it continues to add SUVs and crossovers to its lineup over the coming years.

Volkswagen of America boss Scott Keogh told Digital Trends that a five-seat version of the Atlas will arrive during the first quarter of 2020. He stopped short of providing additional information about the car, but the German firm previewed it with the Atlas Cross Sport concept (pictured above) that it introduced at the 2018 New York Auto Show. When it arrives, the yet-unnamed model will compete in the same hotly contested segment as the born-again Honda Passport and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

At the other end of the spectrum, Volkswagen is preparing a crossover positioned below the Tiguan, which got bigger as it entered its second generation. “We think there’s an opportunity for a vehicle there,” Keogh confirmed. Details are few and far between, and the model might not arrive until 2021. It will later be joined by an electric crossover inspired by the ID Crozz concept. The two models will compete in the same segment size-wise, but they won’t share any major components.

Although SUVs are hogging the spotlight, Volkswagen won’t give up on the sedan market. It released a new Jetta in 2018 and unveiled a heavily revised Passat in 2019. “It would be silly to walk away from that business,” Keogh added.

Volkswagen’s lineup is changing, and the way motorists get behind the wheel of one of its cars will evolve as well. The company is actively looking at distributing its vehicles through a subscription service that could take on one of two different forms. The first option would look a lot like Care By Volvo, a program that bundles a car payment, maintenance, and insurance into one flat monthly fee. The second option would give subscribers access to a pool of different cars and let them change vehicles as needed. For example, they could conceivably commute in a Golf GTI during the week, and hop in an Atlas for a weekend getaway.

“Absolutely, it’s something I can imagine,” Keogh said when we asked for his position on subscription services. “I think there’s an opportunity in both of those camps. As you look at a lot of different businesses, from Netflix to Spotify, customers are very used to the concept of subscription. The thing you have to watch is that, unlike a rerun of Gilligan’s Island on Netflix, which is not a depreciating asset, a car is. That’s something that needs to be looked at.” It’s easier for a luxury automaker, like Audi, to start a subscription service than it is for a mainstream brand.

Keogh didn’t announce when Volkswagen will announce how it plans to enter the growing subscription market, but he hinted it’s something the brand will do sooner or later. “I think it’s going to be expected moving forward,” he said.

Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.
Cars

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.
Cars

Tesla gives us a cryptic look at its cyberpunk, Blade Runner-inspired pickup

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself. It could make its debut in 2019.
Cars

Fisker plans sub-$40,000 electric SUV with 300 miles of range for 2021

Fisker Inc. plans to launch an electric SUV with a base price of under $40,000, and a range of around 300 miles in 2021. The unnamed vehicle could compete with the Tesla Model Y, if it ever gets into production.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.
Cars

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.
Cars

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Cars

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.
Cars

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.
Cars

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Cars

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…