Pour One Out for the Volkswagen Passat

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
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.

  • Lou_BC "To be sure, many suppliers have received much-needed relief from automakers or their Tier 1 customers. And despite the significant pressure suppliers have found themselves under after unprecedented challenges in recent years, a wave of supplier bankruptcies that some have feared has not come to pass."You can say that again..........oh.....wait..... you did.
  • Lou_BC Lately I've had the crap scared out of me a few times. The most freaky was the other day. I was heading out to a lake with my dogs. I was at a "highway" traffic light. A small SUV was next to me in the outside lane. The light changes and we both accelerate. I'm a bit faster. I look in my centre mirror and a GM Sierra pulling an ATV on a utility trailer in right on my butt. He' so close I can just see the top of his grill. I accelerate up to 105 KPH (Speed limit 100 kph). He's still right there. I'm not one to brake check but I chose to "cover" my brakes to activate the tail lights as a warning. He swerves into the other lane almost taking out the little SUV. Both his pickup and trailer are wildly swaying all over the place. He zooms off and gets stuck behind a few transport trucks.
  • Syke Nine comments and Tassos hasn't jumped in screaming about what a garbage car this is?
  • The Oracle The Spyder and Ryker platforms are great for folks who want an open air experience but may not want it on 2 wheels. I’ve had a Spyder RS-S since new in 2012 and it’s a fun machine with the manual transmission. When ridden hard, fuel economy goes well below 36mpg, but 2-up riding is great and the frunk is great for running errands.
  • The Oracle These pricing pressures have been around for decades and the traditional ICE supply base is about to be upended.