Volkswagen kills Passat in US to focus on SUVs and electric vehicles
Ceases US sales of the Passat sedan, the newest nameplate known to leave US showrooms as automakers adopt sports utility vehicles.
The German automaker said on Monday that the 2022 model year will be the last run for the midsize sedan, which has been sold in the US since 1990 under the Passat name. VW is focused on selling SUVs and starting US production next year of its new ID.4 electric model.
In recent years, auto companies have reduced their range of passenger cars, dropped sedans and hatchbacks, and added more SUVs and pickup trucks at the same time. American buyers have gravitated towards rides that have better utility and allow drivers to sit higher, a shift caused in part by a relatively long time of relatively low gasoline prices.
The proliferation of so-called crossover SUVs built on a car frame has allowed automakers to offer smaller SUV body styles and better fuel efficiency than the larger, truck-like SUVs that gained popularity in the early 1990s.
Other sedan names that have been sent to the junkyard in recent years include the Chevrolet Impala, Ford Focus, Dodge Dart, and Chrysler 200. VW got rid of its quirky subcompact Beetle in 2019.
Sales of the Passat, which competes with other family cars like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, have steadily declined in recent years along with other sedan models. According to research company Motor Intelligence, VW sold around 23,000 Passats last year, up from 78,000 in 2015.
Production of the Passat in Europe will continue, said a VW spokesman.
Detroit’s automakers have led the trend away from passenger cars, picking most models from their lineup while playing to their historic strengths in pickup trucks and SUVs. Ford, for example, recently unveiled detailed plans to sell the Maverick small pickup truck, starting around $ 20,000, the cheapest vehicle on Ford’s US showrooms.
VW and other automakers are also rethinking their vehicle ranges as they prepare to bring dozens of electric models to market in the years to come. VW’s plans for plug-in cars are among the most aggressive global automakers.
VW began selling a North American version of its European Passat model under the Dasher name. In the USA it was sold under the name Passat from 1990 and over the years it was sold as a sedan and station wagon.
In 2011, VW began US production of the Passat sedans at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant. The company said the plant will continue to produce SUVs like the mid-size Atlas and will begin manufacturing electric cars.
Write to Mike Colias at [email protected]
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