All-New VW Passat Coming on Thursday; Goes More Upscale

The next generation of VW’s Passat for Europe and other select regions around the world, not including North America, will reportedly have its premiere in Berlin this Thursday on July 3.

While routing the North American Passat more down-market, Volkswagen’s brass plans to push the next generation of the European Passat more upscale, purportedly to counteract poor sales in the mid-size market.

According to a Reuters report, the main reason for VW’s change of attitude is that, while mainstream models saw their stake in the mid-size segment fall from 48 percent to 44 percent in an overall European market that contracted 15 percent from 2009 to 2013, premium offerings from brands like Audi and BMW rose from 13 to 17 percent.

Industry analyst told the news agency that VW’s upscale move is the right way to go. “The mid-market is a fiercely fought segment and competition is anything but letting up. Stretching further into luxury territory is a sensible step,” said Stefan Bratzel, head of the Center of Automotive Management.

The report said the new Passat is expected to be priced a little bit higher than its predecessor starting from around €26,000 (US$35,500), thus placing it above cars like the Peugeot 508 (€25,250), but still under the Audi A4 (€28,100) and BMW 3-Series (€29,350).

“We expect higher deliveries as the new Passat will be a cut above its predecessor but sell for about the same price,” said an optimistic Ernst-Robert Nouvertne, who is in charge of two VW dealerships near Cologne in Germany. “There’s a good chance to win premium buyers.”

VW has said that the new Passat will ride on the brand’s lighter MQB modular platform and feature several novelties like a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and two new engines, a 240PS (237hp) 2.0-liter TDI diesel and a 211PS (208hp) plug-in hybrid variant combining a 1.4-liter TSI petrol unit and an electric motor.

By John Halas

PHOTO GALLERY

VW Passat

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