The Volkswagen Passat is dead. At least in America.
2022 will be the last model year for VW’s mid-size sedan.
The cause of death is complicated. While the market shift towards crossovers is certainly playing a role, the car has also been simply overlooked by VW in recent years. We called the last one we drove boring. The Europeans got a different version that seemed, on paper, more competitive, while we got a bland sedan that offered nothing in terms of sport, luxury or comfort to turn buyers away from competitors like the Honda Accord. or the Toyota Camry. Or to give them a reason not to buy a crossover.
Indeed, Passat sales have fallen off the proverbial cliff since 2012.
If you’re wondering what will happen to the Chattanooga, TN plant where the car is built, VW will continue to build the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport crossovers there, and production of the ID.4 EV crossover will begin there. in 2022.
Passat will bow out with a limited-edition model featuring “Chattanooga-inspired” details. Other details, such as the number of cars to be built, will honor other aspects of Passat’s past. Limited-edition models will start at $ 30,295, plus $ 995 for Destination.
The Passat has been sold in the United States since 1974, but first as Dasher and then as Quantum. The Passat name first appeared in 1990. The first six generations were imported from Europe before the company split versions by market for the 2012 model year, building the American Passat in Chattanooga.
In the opinion of your humble author, this decision is partly responsible for the fate of the Passat. Making the car bigger for American customers seemed like a good decision at first glance, but the car lost some performance verve in the process, and the interior and exterior styling became rather anonymous. Add to that the crossover craze and it’s easy to see why Passat’s goose is now cooked.
VW could probably have come up with a replacement model that balances size and fun and manages to keep the sedan’s flame alight, but in addition to building crossovers, the focus is on electric vehicles as well. Then the Passat will say goodbye.
We think it will not fail.