The US-spec Passat will soon be getting a long-overdue redesign.
It wasn't long ago when Volkswagen temporarily stalled production of the Passat in the US due to slow sales. As we know, the sedan segment has seen a sharp decline in sales due to the rise of SUVs and crossovers. Ford will even abandon the segment altogether by 2022. It may come as a surprise then that Volkswagen is celebrating a major production milestone at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with the assembly of the 700,000th US-spec Passat since production started in 2011.
Specifically, the milestone model is a 2018 Passat GT finished in Reflex Silver, with a two-tone black and grey interior. The limited-edition model is powered by a 3.6-liter VR6 engine and a six-speed DSG Tiptronic dual-clutch automatic transmission. "The history of Volkswagen Chattanooga is intertwined with the history of the US Passat," said Antonio Pinto, President and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga. "As we grow and add models, we take pride in continuing to produce quality Passats in the state of Tennessee. I am very proud of our team for reaching this important milestone and look forward to more to come." With 280 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, the Passat GT is billed as a true sport sedan.
While 700,000 units is an impressive production milestone worth celebrating, sales of the Passat have been rapidly declining. Its best year was back in 2012 when Volkswagen shipped 117,023 examples to US customers. In contrast, sales halved to 60,722 units last year. Luckily, the American Passat will soon receive a long-overdue redesign in 2019 and will be built on Volkswagen's MQB platform like its European counterpart. Wisely, Volkswagen used the recent factory downtime to strengthen production of the more popular Atlas SUV, which is becoming one of the automaker's best-selling models with 5,404 units sold in the US last month. A second five-seat SUV will also start production at the Chattanooga plant in 2019.