China is getting a double dose of Volkswagen Passat. The new generation B7 Passat will hit China’s streets in a longer wheelbase version, to provide legroom for the boss in the back while the driver up front braves the crazy Chinese traffic. Just like the previous-gen B6, the car will be built by Volkswagen’s northern joint venture with FAW and will be sold under the Magotan name. “Passat” was already taken by Volkswagen’s southern joint venture, more on that below.
First pictures of the not quite 4 inch (100 mm) longer wheelbase (why do they even bother?) Magotan appeared today in CarNewsChina. The car will be powered by 1.4 TSI, 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TSI engines, mated to a DSG transmission. Price and launch date will be announced next month.
Meanwhile in Shanghai, Volkswagen’s joint venture with SAIC will (not quite, see below) replace its long-in-the-tooth B5 Passat with the American Chattanooga Passat, the artist formerly known as NMS. The New Passat has been shown at the Shanghai Auto Show. It shares two engines (1.8TSI, 2.0TSI) with the Magotan, and adds a 3.0 Liter V6. It costs between 218,800 Yuan ($33,500) and 310,800 Yuan ($47,600). The times of the cheap Passat in China are clearly over. The New Passat has a 2803mm wheelbase, only marginally shorter than the “long” Magotan B7L which has a 2812mm wheelbase.
In the “why throw away a perfectly good platform” department, the 5th generation Passat B5 will live on as the facelifted Passat Lingyu, also made by the joint venture with SAIC.
None of the newer Passats break any sales records. In March, the Passat Lingyu stood at rank 31 with 10,111 units sold. The Magotan (B6) was at rank 57 with 6,349 units sold. Meanwhile, the Santana, derived from the second gen Passat B2, held rank 4 with 19,683 units sold. The top spot had the FAW Xiali N3/N5, which has its roots in a 2nd gen Daihatsu Charade.
While people in the U.S. and Europe drive around in 20 year old cars, China builds them.