40 years and 20 million units make the Passat an automotive mainstay.
To look at the original car next to the current model, it almost seems odd that both cars would be called Passat. But indeed it was in 1973 that the Passat nameplate was launched, and although there have certainly been some changes, the car is still going strong today. The first generation of the car included not just a sedan and a wagon, but also a two-door hatchback, a body style which was never a big hit, and was eventually dropped from the Passat lineup.
The second generation of the car was such a hit that it stayed in production in Latin America and China right up until earlier this year, and was sold under the name Santana. The biggest change to the Passat during its 40 years of life was for the introduction of the fifth generation in 1996, when it became more the car we think of today. It has followed along these lines in the US even more than the rest of the world, and today’s US market car is the biggest and most option-able car to date. It is a very likeable car, and it’s easy to see how Volkswagen has sold some 20 million units in 40 years.