Volkswagen of America revealed it end production and sales of its Passat midsize sedan as it looks to sell more SUVs and use the production space to build electric vehicles.
The company is looking to send the sedan out with a bang, producing a special edition of the Passat for the 2022 model year. The Limited Edition version comes with some “Chattanooga-inspired details,” the company noted. The Passat sold in the U.S. is built at VW’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The Passat was introduced in 1973 in Germany, it arrived in the U.S. the following year, called the Dasher. It was sold as a sedan and wagon. It became the Passat in 1990.
“We’ve sold some version of the Passat for nearly 50 years, and the Passat launched our relationship with Chattanooga, which supports thousands of jobs,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America Inc.
“With the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport in high demand, and the North American production launch of the all-electric ID.4 SUV next year, our future in Chattanooga looks brighter than ever.”
Electric vehicles plans for the U.S.
Initially, VW EV plans entailed selling just three battery-electric vehicles in the U.S., including the recently launched ID.4 and another model yet to be identified. Both were to have begun being assembled in Chattanooga, Tennessee following the expansion of that plant.
Now, it appears, there will be more BEVs in the pipeline for U.S. showrooms, including the ID Buzz, an electrified van modeled on the iconic Microbus.
The automaker is working to shift its BEV strategy and will “realign … this in a massive way,” the Volkswagen brand’s product development chief Thomas Ulbrich told reporters in Munich in June.
The apparent move to expand its U.S. line-up of battery-electric cars appears linked to the Biden administration’s push for a greener auto industry. Many analysts now believe BEVs will account for 30% of the American market by 2030, up from less than 3% today.
During a news conference in Munich, company officials outlined plans for new products that include the AeroB electric station wagon, as well as a Tesla-fighter codenamed Trinity. That model, they said, will pit Volkswagen more directly up against the U.S. EV company as it prepares to open its first plant. The Berlin factory is barely an hour drive away from VW’s headquarters and its largest assembly plant in Wolfsburg.
Limited Edition model
The 2022 Passat Limited Edition includes unique exterior and interior design details created to celebrate the model’s history and recognize the contributions of the employees who built Passat, the company noted.
There will be just 1,973 Limited Edition models produced — a nod to the year it was “born.” There will be four color combinations, each honoring some aspect of its history, and built in specific numbers. Aurora Red Metallic models with Titan Black interior will number 411 units, representing the original vehicle production code.
Racing Green Metallic models with Mauro Brown interior will be number 423, for the Chattanooga area code, and Pure White models with Mauro Brown interior will number 524 units, signifying the opening date of the Chattanooga Plant on May 24, 2011.
To round out the limited run, 615 Platinum Grey Metallic models with Titan Black interior will be produced—signifying six generations of imported Passats, one generation assembled in Chattanooga, and five decades of U.S. sales.
Outside, distinctive wheels and mirror caps differentiate the Limited Edition from the rest of the Passat lineup. Fifteen-spoke 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels are standard, along with black mirror caps for the power-folding mirrors with memory. Additionally, Limited Edition models feature LED headlights with the Advanced Front-lighting System (AFS) and Easy Open trunk.
The sedans will also get seat tags reading “1 of 1973” on one side and “Chattanooga 2011” on the other. Pricing on the Limited Edition model starts at $30,295, although the Aurora Red Metallic color is a $395 upcharge.