Volkswagen To Drop Passat Like It’s Not Hot
When Volkswagen refreshed rather than redesigned the 2020 Passat, it sent a clear signal that unless Americans started buying family-sized sedans again, the model likely wouldn’t last much longer. Now, in a piece published by Wards Auto, Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstätter confirms that the car will reach the end of its American road after the 2023 model year.
The reasons are obvious. Americans buy SUVs. And Volkswagen is moving production of its new ID.4 electric vehicle to the Chattanooga, Tennessee factory where the Passat is built alongside the popular VW Atlas.
Designed for Americans, and built in America, the 2012 Passat was Volkswagen’s best effort to compete in one of the largest vehicle segments in the country. A decade later, midsize sedan buyers are evaporating, and the segment is shrinking. Buick, Chrysler, and Ford have left the family-sedan building, and Chevrolet is holding the exit door open as it prepares to drop the Malibu. Volkswagen’s exit from the segment comes as no surprise.
Once the Passat departs, Volkswagen will still have a few cars in its arsenal. The Jetta sedan is likely to stick around for a while, and though it’s not as roomy inside as the Passat, it is big for the compact segment. Currently, VW plans to continue offering the Arteon in the U.S., an unusual 5-door Sportback that deserves far more attention than it gets. And, of course, both the Golf GTI and Golf R are getting full redesigns for 2022 to carry the driving enthusiast torch for the brand.
In the meantime, the turbocharged, comfortable, safe, efficient, and made-in-the-U.S.A. Passat will be around for three more model years. It’s not the fastest or most technologically advanced midsize sedan you can buy, but it offers good value and engaging driving dynamics at a low price.
Trusted publications and the author’s opinions are the sources of information in this article. It was accurate on November 23, 2020, but it may have changed since that date.