Volkswagen Passat Death – The Truth About Cars

The latest Volkswagen Passat rolled off the assembly line in Chattanooga, Tennessee, ending the model’s long run in the North American market.

Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and introduced in 1973 using the VW/Audi B1 platform, the Passat came to the United States as the Dasher and was sold as a mid-size luxury vehicle to people on the go. looking for an imported economy car. The model went by different names in other parts of the world and even saw a few unique monikers used in the United States (e.g. Quantum) to help differentiate the hatchback, sedan and wagon variants sold throughout the 1980s. But it was officially known as (B2) Passat in 1990, whatever the format.

Base models were fitted with a transversely mounted 1.6-liter producing a rather lean (though acceptable for the time) 71 horsepower. Customers could opt for the narrow-angle 2.8-litre unit from the VR6, offering 172bhp and a top speed of 139mph. Although most purchased versions come with 1.8 or 2.0 liter engines, Europeans are fond of diesel variants.

Sales increased after the facelifted B4 model entered the scene in 1993 and continued to rise once the B5 resumed platform sharing with Audi in 1997. The model once again became a top-of-the-line option. range, as evidenced by Volkswagen’s decision to start offering versions with a 4.0-liter engine. W8 late in its life cycle. However, the majority of fifth-generation models came with four- or six-cylinder engines and front-wheel drive, although all-wheel drive remained available for most of the B5’s life.

US volume peaked in 2012 with 117,023 deliveries after the B6 was retired. But that might not be an entirely fair assessment, as that was also the year the remaining models were sold alongside the larger Passat “New Midsize Sedan” designed specifically to meet customer needs. North Americans and Chinese. Although initial reception was positive, sales began to dwindle and VW began to offer fewer ways to configure the model. Thanks to the internet, Americans had also become aware that the smaller Passat in the European market came with more glitzy options and a higher price tag.

In the end, the automaker only offered the facelifted North American Passat with the default 2.0-liter TSI (174 hp) and six-speed automatic, while China got an all-new model. In 2021, Volkswagen said it only managed to move 24,396 units in the United States. China sold 124,402 copies, making it easy to see that the company chose to pull the Passat from one market and not the other.

VW mourned the loss of its midsize stalwart this week as executives publicly suggested it was for the best.

“Volkswagen is all about creating memories, and for 50 years nearly two million Volkswagen owners have created memories behind the wheel of a Passat,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “For the thousands of our workers in Chattanooga, this is what makes their jobs special. And as we look to the future, with the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport in high demand, and the launch of our ID.4 all-electric SUV assembly coming later this year, they’re ready. to help America create millions more of those memories. .”

[Images: Volkswagen Group]

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