Volkswagen of America has announced that it will end assembly of the Passat at its Chattanooga plant, with model year 2022 being the last for the sedan. To celebrate more than a decade of Passat production in the United States, the company has revealed a short-run Limited Edition that pays tribute to the sedan’s history as well as Volkswagen’s presence in the country.
“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,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “With the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport in high demand, and the North American production launch of the all-electric ID.4 SUV next year, our future in Chattanooga looks brighter than ever,” he added.
Only 1,973 units of the Passat Limited Edition will be produced to recognise the year the first Passat was launched in Germany. From that total, 411 units will feature an Aurora Red metallic exterior and Titan Black interior, which is a nod to the production code of the original Passat.
Meanwhile, there will be 423 examples that boast a Racing Green metallic and Mauro Brown interior, with the number being the Chattanooga’s telephone area code. Another reference to the Chattanooga plant will the 524 cars with a Pure White exterior and Mauro Brown interior, which signifies the opening date of the facility on May 24, 2011.
Rounding out the cars are 615 units with a Platinum Grey metallic exterior and Titan Black interior, which points to the six generations of imported Passats, one generation assembled in Chattanooga, and five decades of US sales.
Regardless of colour combination, the Passat Limited Edition will come with 18-inch aluminium alloy wheels and black side mirror caps to differentiate it from the rest of the Passat line-up. Other standard features include LED headlamps with Advanced Front-Lighting System and an Easy Open trunk.
Inside, there are model-specific seats with “1 of 1,973” on one side and “Chattanooga 2011” on the other. The special Passats also come with a special mat for the cupholders, featuring aerial maps of the city and an aerial line drawing of the Chattanooga factory.
The rest of the kit list includes comfort sport seats with perforated Vienna leather upholstery, driver seat memory, power passenger seat, heated front and rear seats, Discover Media infotainment with navigation, a Fender premium sound system, Park Assist with front and rear Park Distance Control, and Light Assist (high beam control for the headlamps).
Prices start at USD30,295 (RM128,345) before the addition of a destination cost of USD995 (RM4,215), and if you want the Aurora Red paint finish, it’ll be another USD395 (RM1,673).
In the US, the first version of the Passat (B1) was launched in 1974 under the Dasher name. More than 222,000 units were sold before the second-generation model (B2) came along, this time marketed as the Quantum. The Passat name was used in the US for the first time in 1990 and has remained that way ever since. As mentioned earlier, the first six generations of the model (B1 to B6) were exported from Europe to the US.
Local assembly of the Passat began in 2011, which also marked the first time that the US got its own version of the model, internally designated as the Volkswagen New Midsize Sedan (NMS). The NMS was larger in size than its European sibling, which suited the demands of customers in the US, and was exported to Canada, South Korea as well as Middle Eastern markets.
The NMS got a thorough redesign for the 2020 model year, but retained the PQ46 platform of its predecessor. Despite the new styling, the rising popularity of SUVs and crossovers in the US resulted in poor sales for the Passat, which led to the situation we are in now.
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