Volkswagen will discontinue the Passat mid-size sedan in the U.S. once it completes its current product cycle for 2023, according to a report this weekend from Wards Auto.
The VW plant that produces the Passat in Chattanooga, Tennessee also makes the more popular 2021 Volkswagen Atlas three-row crossover SUV and the similar but smaller Atlas Cross Sport five-seat SUV. Production will shift away from the Passat to the ID.4 electric crossover starting in 2022 as part of an $800 million expansion in the plant.
The ID.4, Volkswagen's first fully electric production vehicle and the vanguard of a portfolio of forthcoming electric vehicles, moves from a limited rollout to nationwide rollout in the spring of 2021. Once the Chattanooga expansion is complete, production of the ID.4 will shift from Germany to the U.S. and the Passat will pass on to the automotive graveyard, at least in North America.
The slow-selling sedan was expected to be discontinued following a tepid 2020 refresh for North America. A new model is planned for 2023 in Europe and China. Slotted between the upscale Volkswagen Arteon and the entry-level Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen didn't see the need to invest much in the Passat here. Even though domestic U.S. automakers have discontinued sedans in favor of crossovers, the Hyundai Sonata and Kia K5 (née Optima) underwent recent redesigns to keep pace with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
The 2020 Passat earned an unremarkable TCC Rating of 5.6 out of 10, earning praise for its roominess and standard safety features but failing to move the needle on anything else. The Accord, Sonata, Camry, and Subaru Legacy earned at least a 7.0 on our rating scale.