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VW names seven-seat large SUV Atlas: report

At last: Volkswagen may finally have a true competitor to the Toyota Kluger in Australia if the so-called Atlas seven-seater gets the green-light for right-hook production.

Aus division hopes for RHD confirmation as Atlas name firms on VW’s seven-seat SUV

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Volkswagen logo7 Oct 2016

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

VOLKSWAGEN has reportedly bucked its T-based SUV naming convention by calling the forthcoming seven-seat large SUV Atlas, ditching the mooted Teramont moniker for the high-riding family wagon it desperately needs to recover in the North American market post-dieselgate.

Due to be revealed on October 27, the Atlas would also suit Australia’s SUV-hungry audience Down Under, a fact not lost on Volkswagen Group Australia general manager of corporate communications Paul Pottinger, who told GoAuto the model “ is something we are interested in and we will certainly look at it,” provided it becomes available in right-hand-drive.

Although the Atlas nameplate has not yet been officially confirmed by Volkswagen, the story was broken by German publication Automobilwoche, a branch of trade journal Automotive News Europe, stating Volkswagen applied to trademark Atlas in the United States earlier this year.

In July, Volkswagen North America CEO Hinrich Woecken told Automotive News that his division was given unusual dispensation to name the model, a responsibility usually handled by a committee based in Germany, and dropped hints that the first letter would not be a T.

“Two or three years ago, it would've been a no-go that the region decides an individual name,” he said at the Chattanooga, Tennessee production facility that will assemble the Atlas. “This is already an early sign that Wolfsburg is willing to let go”.

Based on the CrossBlue concept that debuted at the 2013 Detroit motor show, the Atlas will sit above the Touareg in terms of size, but is likely to be a much more affordable model as it shares the MQB platform the Golf small car, Tiguan medium SUV and Passat mid-sizer.

The Touareg shares a platform with premium SUVs including the Porsche Cayenne and previous-generation Audi Q7.

Seven-seat and coupe-styled Tiguan variants are also on the cards, along with smaller Golf- and Polo-based crossovers respectively based on the 2014 T-Roc and 2016 T-Cross concepts.

The next-generation Amarok ute is also expected to spawn a rugged off-road wagon to compete with the Toyota Fortuner, Ford Everest, Holden Trailblazer, Isuzu MU-X and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport when it arrives close to the end of this decade.

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