Big Changes Are Coming To The Volkswagen Passat


An EV model could be just around the corner.

A new generation of the Volkswagen Passat arrived for 2020, though the design is far more evolutionary than revolutionary. It is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 174 horsepower, which is far less powerful than the Passat sold in Europe. The European Passat is completely different than the one we get here in the US and is even sold as a wagon.

At the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, we spoke with recently-appointed VW Chief Operating Officer Johan de Nysschen about the future of the Passat and other models in the company's portfolio at an industry roundtable. When asked about offering certain models from Europe in the US, de Nysschen says for electric vehicles, "the homologation process at least doesn't involve only emissions testing and the software to control the emissions and certification, but it's still a complicated process."

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This leaves VW in a tricky spot with models like the Passat, which are only sold in the US and therefore can not also be homologated for Europe. "The Passat is a car that has a finite lifespan in terms of our planning" de Nysschen admitted. "It's still an important market segment for us and we have a large and loyal customer base there that we would like to offer entry to. But while no decision has been made, I would say it's probably a reasonable assumption that when this Passat reaches the end of its lifecycle, it's successor will probably not feature an internal combustion engine."

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VW only managed to sell 14,123 units of the Passat in 2019, which is a mere fraction of the sales generated by the company's best-seller, the Tiguan at 109,572 units. "You have to make a decision at some stage," de Nysschen, speaking about replacing the Passat with an all-electric model. But before VW replaces the Passat with an electric sedan, we hope the company will finally give us a GTI variant.

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