Drum roll, please? And the name for the sedan that could determine the future of Volkswagen’s U.S. franchise? Passat.
Say that again? Passat. The all-new 4-door, until now known by its codename, NMS, or New Midsize Sedan, is getting a familiar name, the same one that VW has used for nearly two decades.
Nonetheless, the maker asserted, at an invitation-only event prior to the opening of the Detroit Auto Show, the 2012 Passat sold in the U.S. will be a very different car from the sedan bearing that nameplate in the rest of the world.
It will need to be. VW has very ambitious plans for the U.S., the only major market where it has been stuck in also-ran territory. By 2018, the maker wants to roughly triple sales volume to 800,000 a year – critical if it expects to meet its corporate goal of displacing Toyota as the world’s largest automaker.