If you’re a fan of the Volkswagen Passat, you had better buy one within the next few years. The German automaker has announced that it will discontinue making the American version of this mid-size sedan in 2023. The decision to discontinue the American version of the Passat does not affect the production of the European model, which has differed slightly since 2012.
The demise of the American VW Passat comes at the end of the current generation’s lifecycle. Volkswagen has long hinted at the move as sales of the sedan have continued to plummet reaching a level in 2018 of only one-third of what they were in 2018, selling only 14,123 cars. The Volkswagen Passat got a makeover in 2020, and while the redesign boosted sales, it wasn’t enough to save it. Despite this move, VW has continued the development of the next-generation Passat in Europe, with the new model built on an updated MQB platform. Americans won’t be able to enjoy the new larger model offering more legroom thanks to a longer wheelbase. The Passat’s European production is set to move from Germany to Slovakia for its next generation.
With the demise of the Volkswagen Passat, the German automaker will only have two sedan models for American drivers, the less luxurious but more popular Jetta and the Arteon. The latter is similar in size to the Passat but represents VW’s attempt to move into the luxury sedan market.
The increasing popularity of Volkswagen’s SUVs isn’t the only reason why the Passat is being discontinued. Volkswagen has other plans for the Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, which also currently builds the wildly popular 2021 Volkswagen Atlas three-row crossover SUV and the similar but smaller Atlas Cross Sport five-seat SUV. The manufacturer has plans to expand the plant, investing $800 million in the building to ramp up production of the Atlas and Atlas Sport along with the subcompact Taos, which will begin construction in Tennessee next year.
Another apparent reason that Volkswagen has announced the discontinuation of the Passat is the manufacturer’s shift toward producing the all-electric ID.4 crossover. The 564,000-square-foot expansion will produce electric vehicles using Volkswagen’s modular electric toolkit chassis called MEB. It’s part of VW’s move away from diesel-based engines and commitment toward more economical and efficient electric vehicles. The ID line of electric vehicles is currently being built in Germany. Once the Chattanooga plant expansion is completed in 2022, the manufacture of the ID.4 will shirt there.
Even though new Volkswagen Passats will be a memory in several years, buyers do not have to worry about getting quality service for their vehicles. As your local repair shop for Volkswagens and Audis, you can count on us to continue to get parts to repair your Passat for as long as you own the vehicle. In addition, we will continue to repair all models of Volkswagens and Audis as we have in the past. You can also expect our expert technicians to be competent in servicing and maintaining VW’s new ID line of electric vehicles when they become available in the United States.
Executive Director, Hillside Imports
Krista Rodriguez is a Portland native working in the automotive industry for the past 18 years. An active member of the community, Krista volunteers within Tigard Tualatin School District and serves as the Treasurer for the Foundation for Tigard Tualatin Schools.