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VW Release NMS Sketches Just As It Unveils New European Passat.

Big differences planned between U.S., European midsize sedans.

by on Sep.30, 2010

Sibling rivalry? Just how different are the U.S. NMS -- shown in a new rendering -- and the new VW Passat debuting in Paris?

They’re clearly kissing cousins, but there are also some distinct differences between the all-new Volkswagen Passat making its public debut at the Paris Motor Show, this week, and the yet-to-be-seen model that American drivers will be getting next week.

“Completely different cars,” emphasized VW’s senior product planner, Toscan Bennett, during a conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com on the floor of the 2010 Mondial de l’Automobile.

This newly-released rendering of the Volkswagen NMS  — short for New Midsize Sedan – underscores that point.

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The two models aren’t night-and-day.  The images suggest that the sedan that will be built at VW’s new assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee borrows some of the more distinctive Passat design elements, such as the angular cut to the low-browed headlamps, and the cut of the three-bar grille.

The 2011 VW Passat takes its bow at the Paris Motor Show.

But there’s a slightly more muscular feel to the American sedan, if the renderings prove accurate, and a little less of the coupe-like curve to the roof line.

When the NMS makes it into production, next year, it will mark the first time VW has produced a car specifically for the U.S. market – though knowing the German maker’s intense focus on cost-containment through careful use of shared platforms and components, we expect to later learn there are some significant commonalities under the skin.

While Europeans will get the new Passat wagon, there probably won't be that variant of the U.S. NMS.

The key, VW officials have been saying, is to make sure that the new model meets expectations of American motorists, rather than trying to get U.S. drivers to accept distinctly Teutonic attributes.

That strategy is being backed by a $4 billion investment in the American market designed to nearly triple Volkswagen sales volumes to 800,000 annually by 2018.

The recently-launched 2011 Jetta is another example of the Americanization effort.  For the U.S. market, VW has tweaked the feel, more than the look of the compact model, and offered a budget-priced entry edition that’s aimed at carving into the dominant segment players, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

Originally, it should be pointed out, the 2011 Jetta was anointed the NCS, or New Compact Sedan.  So we’re going to wait and see if the Passat nameplate will ultimately remain in use Stateside, or whether VW will pull out something entirely new.

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