Add another car to the list of sedans falling in the face of the SUV onslaught: Poor sales in both the U.S. and Canada have signaled the end for the sedan, this as the popularity of utility models continues to grow unabated.
News of the Passat's end came first in the U.S., but Volkswagen Canada has confirmed that it too will discontinue the model after 2022. Even then, the car will only be offered to fleets next year. Our neighbors to the south will get a limited edition to signal the departure of the model that was redesigned for the American market for 2011. In fact, Volkswagen's U.S. plant in Chattanooga was the first to build that edition of the Passat.
The demise of the Passat will allow the company to deploy resources at that Tennessee facility to other projects. The plant also produces the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport models, and is set to begin production of the ID.4 all-electric SUV starting next year to supply the North American market.
"We've sold some version of the Passat for nearly 50 years, and the Passat launched our relationship with Chattanooga, which supports thousands of jobs. With the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport in high demand, and the North American production launch of the all-electric ID4 SUV next year, our future in Chattanooga looks brighter than ever."
- Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America
As mentioned, a look at the sales figures for the Passat tell you all you need to know about the reason for the model’s removal. Back when the Passat was renewed for the U.S. market in 2011, the results were initially exceptional, with over 100,000 units sold in 2012 and 2013. But by 2019, VW sold only 14,123 Passats. Things have improved this year, but nowhere near enough. There’s simply no longer enough interest in the model.
In Canada, sales dropped from 8,000 units in 2012 and 2013 to only 672 in 2019. We're headed for 2,500 this year. Again, not nearly enough…