By on August 24, 2020

2020 Volkswagen Passat R-Line

When we last checked in on the Volkswagen Passat, the manufacturer was rumored to be considering removing the model from its production lineup. Jetta’s bigger brother failed to garner much attention after its last update, and it just so happens to exist within a vehicle segment that has has seen far better days. Combine that with VW heaping added importance on a lineup of fresh new EVs, and there was good reason to think the family sedan was living on borrowed time.

Despite some company brass eager to kill off the model, it has been decided that the Passat will stick with us a while longer. Autocar recently reported the car has been approved for another generation, expecting it to launch in Europe in 2023.

VW Group CEO Herbert Diess is reportedly unconvinced that the Passat has a place in future lineups, however. He noted that sales of the similarly sized Arteon seemed to be coming up in Europe prior to the pandemic, and that the company already planned to manufacture the electric ID Vizzion in both sedan and wagon formats.

Yet the industry has been fairly cautious not to totally eliminate traditional body styles. After all, there’s always a chance their ranks could rebound if the market begins skewing back toward more traditional shapes. Crossover saturation seems to have reached its zenith and European sedan owners have proven themselves fiercely loyal (though still fickle in comparison to U.S. pickup loyalists). That’s probably why the North American market has been saddled with the old “New Midsize Sedan” (NMS) version of the Passat, while European customers receive the fancier MQB-based B8.

The NMS is also all about maximizing volume and lowering the MSRP — which we’re shocked to learn doesn’t go over as well in Europe.

Unlike the current namesake twins, the 9th generation Passat is said to be a singular, global model running on an updated version of the MQB architecture that will be able to support both front and all-wheel drive. Mild and plug-in hybridization are said to both be on the table, along with a legit BEV running entirely on electric power. We imagine there will probably be a standard gas-burner, as well, likely incorporating forced induction to make up for a petite, emissions-friendly powertrain.

From Autocar:

Set for UK launch in 2023, the new Passat will share its platform, drivetrains and electrical architecture with the Skoda Superb – alongside which right-hand-drive versions will be produced in a new greenfield factory to be established by Skoda as part of a major expansion of its production capacity.

The move will bring an end to the production of the Passat at Volkswagen’s Emden factory in Germany after more than 36 years, according to Volkswagen sources, who say the plant will be soon begin a comprehensive reconstruction for the electric-powered ID 4 SUV, which is scheduled to be produced there from 2022.

Volkswagen staffers speaking to the outlet claimed the B9 Passat has already been styled and will take on a more versatile guise. That presumably means improving interior volume to better cater to the American and Chinese markets. An Alltrack model has also been suggested, with an elevated ride height and the obligatory plastic cladding. We’ve no clue if any of the wagon (estate) variants will come to America; the automotive media certainly seems increasingly sprung on wagons, but it’s doubtful whether the general public is ready to revisit them. For now, the Subaru Outback seems the only wagon with mass appeal — and your author would argue it has basically been a crossover since 2010.

Still, North American preferences hardly matter, as it wasn’t the United States or Canada that influenced the company’s final decision to build a 9th-gen Passat. Autocar claims Volkswagen’s Chinese operations decided the vehicle’s fate, with that market apparently able to muster enough volume to make production worthwhile.

2020 Volkswagen Passat R-Line

[Images: Volkswagen Group]

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13 Comments on “Volkswagen Reportedly Allows Passat to Live...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Gas, mild hybrid, PHEV, and BEV – which will it be, VW?

    Diluting the product like this only raises development costs and introduces compromises for every version. Maybe include a few different ICEs and transmission options while you’re at it, as well as an AWD option and a wagon.

    Maybe VW isn’t so confident in their BEV future, after all.

  • avatar

    Good to see the US will get the B9 to replace the NMS.

  • avatar

    The Passat may live on, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will continue on in North America. In fact, it seems unlikely that it will. It was deemed too pricey for the American market in the past, and making it larger is unlikely decrease material costs. Unless it’s assembled in Chattanooga, and I don’t know why VW would waste Chattanooga capacity on a dying segment, it’s almost certainly done in the North America at the end of this model run.

    • 0 avatar

      This is kinda how I was (quickly) reading this article.

      I don’t think i saw anything confirming it was coming to North America. And I’m not gonna re-read it :)

      Who cares honestly. This car really isn’t anything special. Entire segment is dead basically.

      • 0 avatar

        Accord and Camry will stick around. Best blend of comfort, economy (fuel and purchase price) and respectability for a long hwy commute. But as family car, the CRV and RAV 4 have supplanted.

    • 0 avatar

      The question of whether we’d get the “world” Passat is a valid one, but why would they discontinue the current model the same year they introduced a heavily remade one? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

      • 0 avatar

        Our Passat just received an update, so they’ll want to recoup that investment, minimal as it may have been. Since they share so many components, it would make sense to phase out our NMS Passat around the same time China’s NMS model draws to an end. Unless they have an earlier need for production capacity in Chattanooga, that is.

  • avatar

    You say Volkswagen allows the Passat to live, I say Ford allows any non-F150 vehicle to live. Because I read in TTAC comments that F150 could dominate the world at the snap of Hackett’s fingers – and F150 will never face any credible competition in the next thousand years of life on Earth. /S

    Recently-developed theory: F-150 is the Kingsford Charcoal of the automotive world – its success has more to do with distribution than any inherent product attributes or manufacturing expertise.

    Are there better charcoals than Kingsford? Clearly:

    Do a growing majority of consumers go for the convenience of a gas grill (note that you can use a smoker box/etc. for wood flavor with a gas grill)? Yes. Are there new electric alternatives? Again yes:

    It is amusing to see the pricing games Kingsford likes to play over the years, typically by varying the bag sizes (as if I won’t notice).

    Oh look, there’s Ford right on the Kingsford website:

    But why discuss Ford on a post about a German automaker? Well we could go several directions with that one, but here’s one example:

  • avatar

    The million dollar question, of course, is whether North America gets this new Passat. I wouldn’t bet the house on it, but I wouldn’t bet against it, either. The knock against the Euro Passat is price, but a lot of that has to do with being manufactured in Germany. Given VW has two North American factories, it could be made a lot cheaper “locally.”

    Is the sedan market shrinking? Yes. But with GM and Ford leaving the market (and who knows if Nissan even survives), that might leave some room for the remaining players to grab a piece of the pie, and VW’s been established a LONG time in this market space.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    US Passat sales have dropped 90% since 2012, so why would VW bother to keep trying?

  • avatar

    Remember, folks: 2.0-turbo-all-the-things equals guaranteed success in the marketplace!

    Oh, wait…

  • avatar

    The way I read this article it seems that Passat production is leaving Germany and moving to Skoda’s factory in Czech Rep. we could see limited imports of the new Passat to the US positioned as semi premium offering just below the Arteon. That would be a good thing. Chattanooga will not make sense if the demand for VW SUVs continues as it is.

  • avatar

    VW of America is stuffed full of terrible businesspeople who lack any understanding of the market, the kind that once nearly sank the Detroit Three. The answer to the mystery of the failing Passat is so obvious: The American-market Passat is not the normal Int’l one whose interior is a facsimile of the Arteon’s and takes inspiration from Audi. Our Passat is an unappealing dinosaur w/ 2000s era styling. So they neutered the Passat in the American market and are wondering why it’s doing so poorly? It’s the same stupid logic that killed Chevy and Ford sedans. “Making sexy sedans is too hard, so let’s make ugly crossovers and call them “SUVs”.” If they do get rid of the Passat, they should be forced to lower the cost of the Arteon to match the Passat in Europe.

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