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VW's Math Shows U.S. Passat No Bargain For E.U. Buyers


2012 Volkswagen Passat

2012 Volkswagen Passat

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At first glance, the difference is obvious: a U.S. market 2012 Volkswagen Passat, now built in VW’s Tennessee plant, is quite a bit cheaper than its E.U. counterpart, which is built at VW’s Emden or Zwickau plants in Germany. An enterprising German buyer could, in theory, pay $25,995 for a U.S.-built Passat SE TDI , while the same car would cost him the equivalent of $42,440 in Germany.

“Nicht so schnell,” says Volkswagen, which is quick to point out the real cost of buying a U.S.-specification Passat and then importing it into Germany. Starting with your $25,995 U.S. Passat, VW says you can expect to add:

  • $600 for transportation from the dealership to the port
  • $950 for overseas shipment
  • $669 for transportation insurance
  • $5,811.94 for import sales taxes into Germany
  • $634.49 for the freight forwarder’s charge
  • $563.99 for delivery to the customer
  • $2,780.48 for German customs duties
  • $1,691.98 for exhaust gas measurement and certification
  • $1,268.98 for “special approval of technical modifications to headlights”
  • $2,819.96 to retrofit E.U. specific parts, such as side blinkers and a rear fog light
  • $4,229.94 for technical assessment and certification from TÜV

Total that bill up, and your $25,995 Passat comes to $48,015.76, which makes the German-built Passat a much more attractive alternative for customers in the E.U.--not to mention the fact that it's a mechanically distinct platform, smaller, with arguably a more sophisticated suspension and interior.

If  you live in the E.U., yearn for a Passat but can’t afford the current price of admission, there’s good news: reports are that a new and lower-priced European Passat, based on the redesigned U.S. Passat, is due out in another two years.

[Automotive News]

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Comments (6)
  1. This article is pointless. The US Passat is a completely different car - the only thing is shares in common with the German car is the name. The German model has a 7-speed DSG transmission as standard (not an outdated 6-speed torque converter), mated to a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with direct injection, and it achieves 33 mpg, which is more fuel efficient than a Toyota Corolla (32mpg). It also includes much more standard equipment.
     
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  2. @David Z: Your points are correct, but despite the stereotype of Europeans buyers, not all of them want to pay more for all that sophisticated technology. A surprising number have eagerly stepped up to buy less advanced, cheaper cars with lots of interior room--their version of a Crown Vic, say. Witness the success of Renault's Dacia brand. I'd argue that the only reason that VW did this math pre-emptively is because they're worried that private imports of the larger, cheaper U.S. Passat might pose a threat to the smaller, pricier Euro-Passat.
     
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  3. I'd question some of those charges but even then, it comes pretty close though the price difference is not significant to begin with... The cars to try it with are Subaru Outback, Lexus RX350, and a few others. We're talking more than double the price and a lot of Europeans can get away without paying taxes if they lived/worked in the States for at least one year (though not many do anymore - we're a very desirable spot but to the 3rd world countries now)
     
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  4. @JKD: I agree that VW went high with some of their figures, since I spent 4 years running a company that imported tech-based products from Germany into the US. I also exported US components to Germany, so I have a better-than-average feel for the costs associated. Even under a "best case" cost scenario, the hassle of converting a U.S. spec car to meet E.U. standards (and vice versa) often makes it a losing proposition.
    I don't know too many Euros working in the US these days. Of course, I don't know very many Americans with jobs these days, either.
     
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  5. Subaru 3.6 R Limited w/ nav starts at $70K in Germany vs. the current price of $32.5K in the States. Even with taxes and duties this is a much better deal for 2x the car with top notch quality and made in USA in the best zero-emissions factory.
     
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  6. Other then the turbo 4 cylinder and a slightly smaller platform, mechanically they are not much different.Oh right you cannot get awd. The US made Passat has a similar independent rear suspension,optional available DSG transmission in the diesel and VR6. It has,I think actually a richer interior,especially with the wood simulated trim.It has the interior room of a BMW 5 series now and appears suited more to American tastes. It sounds like a savy European that knows the costs might get a spanking good deal here.
     
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