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EXCLUSIVE: Volkswagen NMS Replaces Passat, Phaeton to Return

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The current Passat is beginning to show its age, but a replacement won't be on board until 2010

The current Passat is beginning to show its age, but a replacement won't be on board until 2010

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Volkswagen of America president Stefan Jacoby has confirmed to High Gear Media that the new sedan to be built in Tennessee will effectively replace the VW Passat in North America--and that the former Phaeton sedan will return to the U.S. market.

Speaking to journalists gathered to drive the new VW Golf, Jacoby admitted that today's Passat is too small for the duties pressed on it by American drivers. The Passat is "not the right size...for the distances Americans drive."

The Passat's replacement will be a new four-door code-named "NMS." Set for a new Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the new sedan arrives in about two years' time and will be joined by a second product a year later. Jacoby would not confirm the second product would be a crossover vehicle, as some sources have suggested.

By the time the "NMS" arrives on the market as a 2012 or a 2013 model, Volkswagen's lineup will include these sedans:

VW Polo: A new generation of the subcompact Polo arrives in about two years as well, and a four-door sedan is under study for the American market. Like the upcoming Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen thinks both a hatchback Polo and a four-door Polo sedan could be its new model-line anchors, positioned and priced to challenge the Fiesta and the Honda Fit.

Volkswagen Jetta: The next generation of Jetta (and the mechanically similar Golf hatchbacks) should arrive within three years. The cars will continue to compete against the likes of the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Ford Focus.

VW NMS: The new NMS sedan has been shown in sketches released by Volkswagen (above). In Germany today, VW design chief Walter de' Silva showed three more complete sketches of the NMS sedan, including full frontal, side and rear views. The shape shows some similarity to the former Volkswagen Quantum, with a faster rear roofline, a smoothly integrated grille and headlamps, and angular taillamps. In size, the NMS will likely be roughly the size of today's Nissan Altima-- to provide a wider cabin than the VW Passat, and more rear-seat leg room. According to other High Gear Media sources within the Volkswagen Group, the new sedan will be closely related to the next VW sedan to be built and sold in China.

Volkswagen CC: Jacoby says the new 2009 Volkswagen CC--a re-bodied, re-engineered spin-off of the current Passat--has moved decidedly upmarket from the Passat itself. It may drift further higher in price and mission as Volkswagen introduces the NMS sedan.

VW Phaeton: In the early part of the decade, Volkswagen introduced a large, conservative sedan called the Phaeton. You may have missed it: it sold slowly and was pulled from the market after the 2006 model year. Abandoning the Phaeton in the U.S. market was a "mistake," Jacoby says. "You need to be patient to enter a new segment." It's most likely the new Phaeton will arrive before the end of next year in Europe, and could share the same flexible component kits with other big sedans due from the VW Group, including the Audi A6, A7 and A8--though the A8's aluminum space frame and body panels are sure to remain exclusive to Audi.

Jacoby says that Volkswagen needs the new NMS sedan to compete alongside the likes of Toyota and Honda. But with a five-sedan lineup spanning a price range from about $12,000 to more than $50,000, the VW brand will be stretched much wider than either of the Japanese car names. In fact, that spectrum would include all of Toyota and Honda's core products, all of Acura, and almost all of Lexus.

What gives Volkswagen the reach that's missing from those nameplates? The brand and its heritage, Jacoby says. It's the "brand, the technology, the perception...the [Volkswagen] brand is strong enough to carry this kind of product range."

Stay tuned--we'll have our bottom line on the 2010 Volkswagen Golf and news about the next VW Beetle later today.

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Comments (18)
  1. All very nice except when, oh when will the 2010 TDI Golf and Sportwagen be available? (I'm ready to replace our '07 TDI.)
     
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  2. Jacoby is very astute, explaining the widening NMS is due to our....long commutes instead of fat arses! But really, this whole brand lineup thingy is a simple concept--why does VW flail at it so much? The process that works is to have the model grow over time and move up-market. Seems to have worked for the Japanese and BMW. But VW wanted to bypass that and just slap on a Mercedes competitor to the top of their line-up. D'oh! That doesn't work, as we have seen and any competent US auto marketing manager will tell you. So it's good to see they're now starting to follow the tried and true playbook--sort of. The NMS should be called the Quantum, the CC should be the Passat, and the Phaeton (so wrong for many reasons) needs a real name but not one of those Toureg-y Tigaun-y monikers.
     
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  3. Jacoby and VW should be working on their customer service first. View my VW experience at:
    http://www.reesphotos.com/VW/
     
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  4. That car looks unlike any car VW has on the market. I like the look and it seems like it will be the best looking car in its class when compared with Accord and Camry
     
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  5. Replacing the Passat with a new-for-US-only car isn't a bad idea, IF they can actually sell >100K of them.
    But I'm nervous. I owned an "Americanized" Rabbit from their first plant in Pennsylvania. Crappier materials, mushier handling, uglier details. NOT GOOD.
    More than that, what planet are they from that thinks the Phaeton is a logical VW? Don't they already have, ummm, Audi for that segment?
    Or will they end up being badge engineers just like GM was as it fell apart, a car on every platform for every brand and sell, sell, sell? Feh.
     
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  6. Good news! I like to see some more competition to Audi A8 and of course the BMW 740i
    Lets hope VW could do something interesting here for that (too) rick market.
     
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  7. Where has Jacoby been spending his time...Texas? VW needs more innovative models, fewer bland sedans for the least-common-denominator American. That and better dealership service is what drives showroom traffic. It sounds like VW might be doing it all wrong...again.
     
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  8. $12K to $50K is a big stretch indeed, but Chevy pulls it off and then some, so I think it's doable. Not that Chevy is really a model of success lately.
    Looking forward to the Phaeton, especially if VW takes a little more risk with its design like they did with the CC.
     
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  9. great stuff vis a vis the breaking of this story. skeptical about the likelihood of success with so many name plates flying around. if they execute, assuming like BMW and some Asian OE's, could be lucrative and strategically the right approach. again, just not sure on the execution piece.
     
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  10. WOW!! That is one hot car-a great replacement.
     
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  11. I think Mr. Jacoby is wrong. The current Passat is not much smaller than the BMW 5 Series. Similar, the Jetta and the BMW 3 Series are similarly sized. No one has ever said that these BMW's are wrong for this market. They are just pricey, but americans still love and buy them for what they are. He needs to stop listening to the fools who want VW to keep chasing its tail. Its not about bigger, it is about better. The Phaeton needs to stay in Europe. If someone wants a vehicle of that size they can buy and Audi, since it is a steel version of the Audi A8 anyway. Quality of materials, features and driving dynamics of every VW in the US market now are better than anything in every class from Toyota and Honda already. VW for to long has choked itself by choking its product offerings. It needs to start giving up the goods. Therefore, to address VW's issues with competing with or surpassing Honda or Toyota for sales in the US market, or its sagging sales: First, VW needs to find a way to allow its gas 4 cylinders and six cylinders to use regular unleaded fuel like Toyota and Honda. Second, VW needs to make the clean diesel TDI with the DSG transmission and 4 motion available as an option across the board in the Beetle, GTI, Eos, Passat, and Tiguan to give them the fuel efficiency edges in their classes. Third, VW needs to give the Tiguan a locking fuel filler door instead of that un VW like fake out that it currently has. Fourth, VW needs to certify the twincharger engine and make it the base engine instead of the 2.5 cylinder engine to provide a fuel efficient gas engine (i.e., 40 mpg city and 45 mpg highway). Fifth, VW needs to make available a twin turbodiesel four cylinder engine option in the Touareg instead of the turbodiesel six cylinder to truly give it a fuel efficient rating. Finally, after doing all of this VW needs to start advertising how it is better than Toyota or Honda in not only quality of materials,driving dynamics, and features, but also fuel economy. Oh, and it is time for the Beetle to have its dashboard revised for the six cd changer, USB port, and satellite radio, and a diversity antenna on its roof. One catch line could be "Get German Engineering without paying through the nose for it" or "There is nothing like German Engineering" or "Fuel efficient German Engineering, but built in America."
     
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  12. Whether VW succeeds or not is one thing- will the US OE's suffer as a result is another questions
     
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  13. As long as VW can keep the quality up and price the car within the same bracket as Camry and Accord then VW could have a winner on its hands. We'll have to wait and see it first tho.
     
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  14. lets wait and see
     
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  15. looks very promising
     
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  16. Nice move, VW! it's about time we got something refreshing from them here in the US
     
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  17. These are ideally somewhat based on the blog post but that takes
    longer.
     
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  18. Its great that the Volkswagen car is selling well in the US. First VW has started production in America and now VW is selling well in the Middle East and Asia. Looks like a banner year.
     
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