Quick question: When is the last time you saw a brand new Volkswagen Passat in the wild? You may have seen a few fleet vehicles, but it’s no secret Volkswagen’s flagship sedan is anything but a hot seller these days. In fact, it’s largely been supplanted by the Volkswagen Atlas SUV (and to some extent, the Tiguan). Crossovers reign supreme on American roads, so much so that VW aims to expand production at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant. In addition to the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport, the company will ramp up production of the all-electric ID. 4 in two years’ time.
As the ID.4 hits the scene, the old guard Passat will bow out of the U.S. market if information from Wards Auto plays out as reported. For reference, the sedan (and its occasional wagon variants) have been sold here since 1982.
“We’ve made a decision to cancel the Passat for the U.S.,” said Volkswagen brand CEO Ralf Brandstätter. “The sales trend is very firmly in favor of SUV models, as indicated by the success of the Atlas.” We were curious how VW would sell the next-generation model here, but the simple answer seems to be they won’t. To be clear, Volkswagen is (as far as we know) still working on a new Passat in 2023 for global markets. That car will migrate to an updated version of the MQB platform.
The Passat’s most immediate replacement, the ID.4, will arrive on our shores from Zwickau, Germany next year. From there, production will ramp up at Chattanooga for the model by 2022.