WASHINGTON -- Volkswagen revealed several updates for the Passat midsize sedan’s 2016 model year changeover, including fresh front and rear styling, a sporty new trim line and the brand’s new infotainment and connectivity system.
The 2016 Passat will arrive in U.S. showrooms within the next few months to provide a much needed boost for the VW brand’s tepid U.S. sales, which have dropped 2.8 percent this year through August. Passat deliveries fell 16 percent to 56,508 in the same period while midsize sedan sales overall were off 3.2 percent.
Its introduction to U.S. media at an event in New York City Monday comes just days after U.S. environmental regulators accused VW of violating the Clean Air Act by selling 482,000 diesel-powered vehicles with illegal software designed to fool U.S. emissions tests.
During the event, VW's top U.S. executive was profusely apologetic for the diesel-emissions cheating scandal and vowed to win back the trust of the U.S. consumer.
“Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board and with all of you,” Michael Horn, the head of the brand in the U.S., said in Brooklyn, N.Y., at an event featuring rock star Lenny Kravitz. “And in my German words: We have totally screwed up. We must fix the cars to prevent this from ever happening again and we have to make this right. This kind of behavior is totally inconsistent with our qualities.”
Horn, and global VW brand chief Herbert Diess, canceled an interview with reporters and Horn left without taking questions at the first public appearance of a top VW executive since the automaker admitted it had installed “defeat device” software to cheat emissions tests in a half-million of its diesel cars from 2009 to 2015.
“We are committed to do what must be done and to begin to restore your trust,” Horn said. “We will pay what we have to pay.”