It had a great run but it's time to move on.
The Volkswagen Passat, built in America since 2011, has officially ceased production. The final example to roll off the Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly line was a 2022 Limited Edition painted in Platinum Grey. This facility is now in the final stages of preparation to build the all-electric ID.4 SUV beginning later this year. But today, it's the Passat that's in the spotlight one final time.
First sold in the US in 1974 as the Dasher, over 1.8 million examples of the Passat have been sold since then with around 800,000 of those built in Chattanooga. Aside from the Dasher, the Passat was also previously sold as the Quantum before acquiring its current name in 1990. The first six generations were all imported from Europe.
It was in 2011 when VW launched a US market-specific Passat that differed from its overseas counterpart in many ways, including design, features, and even fit and finish. The German automaker wanted to enter America's then ultra-competitive midsize sedan segment, so it made sense to tailor the Passat to rival the likes of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. But times change and the sedan segment isn't what it used to be. Still, the Passat has a long and noble history.
"Volkswagen is in the business of making memories, and for 50 years nearly two million Volkswagen owners made memories behind the wheel of a Passat," said Scott Keogh, President and CEO of VW Group North America.
The Passat's lineage included a number of firsts. For example, the 1974 Dasher was VW's first water-cooled, front-wheel-drive model while the Dasher eventually offered an Audi-derived AWD system.
The 1990 model, internally known as B3, was the first Passat that didn't rely on an Audi platform. Essentially, it was a stretched Golf. The Passat went upscale in 1998, offering buyers an array of features and overall quality almost unheard of in this segment. It was closely related to the Audi A4 and A6 of the time and offered a variety of engine options, including a diesel and a W8. The B6 generation, launched in 2006, saw the Passat return to a VW platform with a transverse engine instead of its predecessor's longitudinal setup. It also offered VW's Haldex-based 4Motion AWD system.
Come 2011, the current and now retired Passat arrived. For decades, the Passat was a key vehicle in VW's lineup here and abroad, but all good things must come to an end.