DETROIT -- The new U.S.-built Volkswagen Passat will have a base price of about $20,000 when it goes on sale in August, said Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.
That's about $7,000 less than the smaller, Germany-built 2010 Passat sedan that was discontinued in the U.S. market last year.
The price estimate doesn't include freight charges, which will be announced later.
"It is the first German car delivering accessible German engineering to the mid-size segment," Toscan Bennett, vice president of product marketing strategy for VW, said last week at the Detroit auto show.
The new Passat will be the first model built at Volkswagen's new assembly plant in Chattanooga when it starts series production in the second quarter.
Browning said: "The Passat will become our second-best-selling car" behind the Jetta sedan.
In 2010, VW sold 12,497 Passats in the United States. It was the lowest-volume VW car in the automaker's U.S. lineup except for the Eos convertible. It was far outsold by the Jetta, which had 123,213 sales.
The new Passat has design differences specifically for the United States. Changes include a longer 110.4-inch wheelbase, which provides more back seat room than the European version, much like an earlier Passat had a longer wheelbase for the Chinese market. The new Passat's overall length is 191.7 inches.
It will come in three trim levels and will offer 16 equipment levels. It has three engine options.
A 2.0-liter, 140-hp four-cylinder turbodiesel with a five-speed manual transmission is the most fuel efficient, expected to deliver 43 mpg highway. It can be paired with an optional six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
A 170-hp five-cylinder gasoline engine comes with the five-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic.
The third engine is a 3.6-liter, 280-hp V-6. It comes with the six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Diana T. Kurylko contributed to this report