Pour One Out for the Volkswagen Passat

pour one out for the volkswagen passat

The Volkswagen Passat is dead. At least in America.

2022 will be the last model year for VW’s mid-size sedan.

The cause of death is complicated. While the market shift towards crossovers certainly plays a role, the car was also simply overlooked by VW in recent years. We called the last one we drove boring. Europeans got a different version that seemed, on paper, to be more competitive, while we got a bland sedan that offered nothing in terms of sport, luxury, or comfort to sway buyers away from competitors like the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. Or to give them a reason to not buy a crossover.

Indeed, Passat sales have fallen off the proverbial cliff since 2012.

If you’re wondering what will become of the plant in Chattanooga, Tennesse, where the car is built, VW will continue building the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport crossovers there, and production of the ID.4 EV crossover will begin there in 2022.

Passat will bow out with a Limited Editon model that has “Chattanooga-inspired” details. Other details, such as the number of cars planned to be built, will honor other aspects of Passat’s past. Limited Edition models will start at $30,295, plus $995 for destination.

The Passat has been sold in America since 1974 — though first under the Dasher name, and later as the Quantum. The Passat name came about in 1990. The first six generations were imported from Europe before the company split the versions by market for the 2012 model year, building the American Passat in Chattanooga.

It’s your humble author’s opinion that this decision is partially responsible for the Passat’s fate. Making the car larger for American customers seemed a good decision on its face, but the car lost some performance verve in the process, and the interior and exterior styling became rather anonymous. Add in the crossover craze and it’s easy to see why the Passat’s goose is now cooked.

VW probably could’ve come up with a replacement model that balanced size and fun and managed to keep the sedan flame burning, but in addition to building crossovers, the focus is also shifting to EVs. So the Passat will say goodbye.

We suspect it won’t be missed.

[Image: Volkswagen]

Join the conversation
3 of 35 comments
  • CrackedLCD CrackedLCD on Aug 01, 2021

    Please tell me that one of the "Chattanooga-inspired details" will be hiding a Moon Pie in the glove box.

    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Aug 02, 2021

      One of the Chattanooga-inspired details will be hiding a Moon Pie in the glove box.

  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Aug 12, 2021

    “ It’s dated and uninspired, doesn’t offer any power plant options, isn’t made well, and the steering wheel is off-center.” VW is Germany’s revenge on the US for its role on the WW2 bomb campaign.

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?