Volkswagen announced today a new initiative to increase the brand’s profitability. The programme comes with casualties as it will shift VW’s focus from lower-volume models to higher ones, meaning cars like the Arteon are dead.

The automaker didn’t say what other low-selling models are on the chopping block, but it specifically called out the Arteon. Its demise comes as little surprise as sales for the stylish saloon fell nearly 69 percent in 2022 to just 1,742 in the US, a fraction of the brand’s overall sales that were just over 301,000 last year. Sales for the Arteon were up through the 2023’s first quarter by over 1,000 percent, although VW sold just 528 of them, so it’s not exactly making a roaring comeback. 

Gallery: 2022 Volkswagen Arteon SEL Premium R-Line

Instead of building the Arteon, Volkswagen will focus on several core models, according to brand CEO Thomas Schäfer. The company wants to reduce the complexity of its models as one way to achieve higher profit, including reducing the number of configuration options for each model. For example, the Volkswagen ID.7 has 99 percent fewer configurations than the seventh-generation Golf. The company also wants to optimise its plant capacity utilisation so it can better meet fluctuating demand. 

Volkswagen plans to quickly implement its new profit program, which it calls “Accelerate Forward | Road to 6.5,” and will set up a new Project Management Office to oversee the effort. The company wants the program up and running by October, putting it on a tight deadline as it seeks a 6.5-percent return on sales, which VW says it needs “to safeguard future investments.” The programme is expected to improve earnings by around €10 billion (£8.5 billion at today’s exchange rate).

The automaker didn’t say when it would discontinue the Arteon. A report from last September alleged that the model would disappear from the lineup after the 2024 model year, with an electric vehicle likely serving as its replacement. The company has already confirmed the ID. Aero is coming to America, which it previewed in 2022 as a stylish concept that rides on the brand’s MEB platform, which, along with MQB, will be vital architectures the company will use to achieve its profit goals.