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Volkswagen Passat Reaches the End of the Line

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The last U.S.-market VW Passat has come off the assembly line, and the long-serving sedan bows out.

As the last Volkswagen Passat sold in the United States, the Passat has officially left our market. The Volkswagen Passat has rolled off the assembly line in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Passat has a lengthy history in the United States, dating back to 1974 when it was known as the Dasher.

  • After nearly 50 years, Volkswagen has killed off the Passat sedan in the U.S.
  • The last of 800,000 Passat sedans to come off the Chattanooga, Tennessee, production line was a Limited Edition 2022 Passat in Platinum Gray.
  • The plant will now turn to the ID.4 EV, with production to start later in 2022.

The Golf and Scirocco shared the first Passat’s Giugiaro-designed “folded paper” look. Volkswagen used the Passat/Dasher to push its way upwards as it prepared to phase out the Beetle. VW was (overly optimistically) marketing the Dasher as a luxury model by the late 1970s. In this 1979 Passat commercial, a proto-yuppie from Malibu, California, mocks the idea of driving a Buick:

The Dasher was available in coupe and sedan (both hatchback) body styles, as well as waggon. The three-model lineup would last until the second generation, when the Dasher nameplate was replaced by Quantum in 1982. Because the platform was shared with Audi, four- and five-cylinder engines were available, all of which were longitudinally placed. Synchronized all-wheel drive was also available.

The third-generation Passat, which debuted in 1990, was the first to bear the Passat name. This Passat was available in two body styles: sedan (with trunk) and waggon (with trunk). It was built on a VW-based transverse-engine layout. A 2.8-liter narrow-angle VR6 joined the 2.0-liter four-cylinder as the higher-output engine option for 1992. The fourth generation, which carried the Passat until 1997, received a facelift that included more features.

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The Passat moved out of the shadows with the fifth-generation model that debuted for 1998. Reverting to an Audi platform (shared with the A4), this Passat delivered impressive quality for a mainstream mid-size sedan and wagon. Four-cylinder and V-6 engines and front- or all-wheel drive were available. A technically complex W-8 engine arrived later in the life cycle, as did a turbo-diesel.

Concerns that the Passat had become too expensive led VW to separate the American and European versions, beginning with the B7 Passat, which was introduced in 2006 as a sedan and 2007 as a waggon. There were four-cylinder and V-6 engines available, as well as front- or all-wheel drive.

A redesigned, larger Passat was introduced in 2012 as part of yet another attempt to better align the Passat with American tastes and price. The vehicle was produced in a brand-new U.S. facility in Chattanooga to keep costs down. The Passat grew even bigger and more roomy than before. This is the model that VW has sold up until the present day, including updates.

Although the Passat is being phased out, the Atlas three-row SUV and the (slightly) smaller Atlas Cross Sport two-row SUV will continue to be manufactured in Chattanooga. VW also announced that production of the ID.4 electric vehicle will begin later in 2022.

With the Passat’s demise, consumers looking for a stylish mid-size four-door could consider the VW Arteon. However, it is unlikely that they will. They’ll instead go for one of the remaining major mid-size sedans.

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