Why Volkswagen Stopped Producing the Passat in the U.S

Volkswagen Passat…Chattanooga, Tennessee

In 1973, the first-generation Passat, a name adopted from a German term meaning “trade winds,” was introduced. It was known as the Passat B1 but was referred to as the Dasher in the U.S. In 1981, the second-generation Passat debuted; seven years later, in 1988, the third-generation Passat followed. By 2005, the Volkswagen Passat was in its sixth generation after being unveiled in the Geneva Motor Show. Now the U.S. market has had enough of the make and wants to end it. Its death has been speculated following the rise of electric vehicles (EVs), but it is not until July 2021 that it was confirmed, and in its place, EVs and SUVS will be produced. So, let’s tell you why production has to be halted and more about the successor.

Its End Was Expected

Volkswagen boasted of the 2021 Passat, saying the vehicle would come with lots of standard features to make you and your family eager to hit the road. Part of its charm would be its comfortable interior, driver assistance, performance safety, and tech features, all in a bid to make the vehicle the ideal fit for the modern motorist. After all this effort, you would think that Volkswagen would make great sales, but the trend has been declining. According to Car Sales Base, in 2012, the U.S. sales figure was 117,023, but it has continued to decrease. In 2020, it sold 22,964 units. Therefore, as early as February 2020, there were speculations that Passat was on its death bed, and predictions were that a successor would be available in 2023. Well, it seems the doom that was already hanging in the air has finally arrived, and Volkswagen Passat will be axed.

Not even the few units sold during the pandemic are enough to make the company hold on to this vehicle that is now in its eighth generation. As Johan de Nsschen, the Chief Operating Officer of Volkswagen of America told Roadshow during the Chicago Auto Show, they knew that the Passat always had a finite lifespan and planned for it. He added that once the Passat reached the end of its lifecycle, it would be replaced by a successor without an internal combustion engine. He hinted that the company could make the ID Vizzion sedan, which was assumed would be the successor. Now the guessing game is over, and we already know what will be the Passat’s replacement.

Make Way for the SUV

According to Motor Trend, the Volkswagen Chief Brand Ralf Brandstätter disclosed that the company had decided to cancel the Passat for the U.S. market because the sales trends show that customers prefer the SUV models. The evidence was that the Chattanooga plant in Tennessee had been taken over by the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport SUVs. However, he made it clear that it is wrong to assume that the plant must cease production of the Passat to make room for another vehicle’s manufacture. Still, until the plant can stop manufacturing the Passat, the replacement vehicle, the ID.4, will be imported from the company’s factory in Zwickau, Germany.

Those who speculated that the Passat’s successor would be the ID Vizzion will have to wait until 2023 because it is still a concept vehicle. However, a production version is expected in 2022. We should have guessed that it would be ID.4 replacing the Passat when Nysschen hinted that he preferred weird alphanumerics. The ID.4 is here, and Volkswagen flaunts it as the brand’s first all-electric SUV and also its first global electric vehicle. To prove how good it is, Volkswagen of America, Electrify America and Volkswagen Credit Inc. teamed up with a long-distance driver, Rainer Zietlow, for a challenge; Zietlow would drive to 48 states visiting over 600 Volkswagen dealers in the new vehicle.

Zietlow praised the ID.4, saying that it is the compact SUV buyers want because it has technology and gear suitable for long-distance drives. It has a fast-charging capability, recharging from 5% to 80% in 38 minutes using a public DC fast charger. The expert driver said this is an excellent time for electric vehicles in the U.S., and many investments have been made for their infrastructure. The ID.4 is already held in high regard after 93 international journalists from 28 countries voted it the 2021 Word Car of the Year. Its base price is $39,995, making it relatively cheaper than the Tesla Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E.

A Befitting Farewell

The ID.4 will be produced in full capacity in 2023 after the production of the Volkswagen Passat ceases. However, only the U.S. market is halting the manufacture; the European and Chinese markets will continue being catered for as production goes on in Germany and China. The Volkswagen Passat is not leaving without making a lasting impression. The president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Scott Keogh, said that although the future of the Chattanooga plant is bright with the launch of the ID.4 electric vehicle, they have to pay tribute to the Passat, which facilitated a long-lasting relationship with Chattanooga.

Consequently, in commemoration of the year that the Passat was first launched in Germany, only 1,973 of a Special Passat Limited Edition will be produced as they bid goodbye to the model. According to paultan.org, 524 cars signifying May 24, 2011, when the Chattanooga plant was opened, will have a Mauro Brown interior and Pure White exterior. Four hundred eleven vehicles will also pay tribute to the production code of the original Passat and will come in Titan Black interior and Aurora Red exterior. The Chattanooga area code will be represented by 423 cars whose interior will be Mauro Brown, and the exterior will be painted Racing Green metallic. Lastly, the remaining 615 cars will signify the six imported Passat generations, a single generation assembled in Chattooga, and five decades of sales in the U.S. The 615 vehicles will have a Titan Black interior and Platinum Grey metallic exterior. All of the cars will cost you $31,290, inclusive of $995 for the destination. However, the Aurora Red will go for an extra $395.

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