DETROIT – Promising to “change the rules” in the mid-sized car segment, Volkswagen today unveiled a Passat that is larger, cheaper and assembled in America.
The new-generation Passat will have a base price of $20,000 when it goes on sale in August, said Jonathan Browning, president and CEO of Volkswagen of America.
It will be the first model built at Volkswagen's new U.S. assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., when it starts series production in the second quarter.
The new model and the plant are critical parts of the German automaker's plan to triple U.S. sales of Volkswagen and Audi to 1 million units by 2018. In 2010, Volkswagen of America sold 359,889 light vehicles in the United States, up 21 percent from 2009.
“We have a long way to go, but we are clearly on the move,” Browning said. “The Passat will become our second-best selling car,” behind the Jetta sedan.
In 2010, VW sold 12,497 Passats. It was the lowest volume VW car in the U.S. VW lineup except for the Eos convertible. It was far outsold by VW's compact car, the Jetta, which had 123,213 sales.
The new Passat has design differences specifically for the U.S. market. Modifications include a longer 110.4-inch wheelbase, which provides more back seat room than the European version. The overall length is 191.7 inches.