As new 2015 models are released, a new Volkswagen Passat is included among them. It is not, however, aimed primarily at the U.S. or European markets, as it has been in the past, but is instead aimed towards the largest emerging automotive market: China. The Volkswagen Passat has seen sales sliding in its traditional markets here and in Europe. This is not the case in China, where midsize sedans are embraced by a fast-growing populace of new car buyers.
In the United States, midsize sedans are still the biggest sellers, but the Volkswagen Passat has failed to really catch on and gain market share. Our market is competitive and full of strong offerings from various carmakers against whom Volkswagen is finding it tough to compete. In Europe, midsize sedan sales are dropping steadily as consumers begin seeing the benefit of both smaller and bigger cars, often ignoring midsize offerings like the Volkswagen Passat in favor of smaller hatchbacks and larger crossovers which return similar or better fuel economy.
The strategy for the new Volkswagen Passat in Europe is to move upmarket, pitting the car against other German makes that hold the line on that segment, including the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Against them, however, Volkswagen already has the Audi A4, so the Passat may be a cannibal rather than a market builder.
Meanwhile, the Volkswagen Group looks towards China – as do most other automakers. In China last year, the Volkswagen Passat saw 230,000 models sold. Add in another 190,000 to that number if you count the rebadged Magotan, a Volkswagen Passat with a different name. That’s nearly double the total sales of the Passat in Europe and almost triple sales of the car in the United States where Volkswagen has a much smaller presence.
Sales here are so abysmal, in fact, and profit-poor that the 2015 Volkswagen Passat in its all-new architecture will not even be available in the U.S. Instead, only the wagon version of the new car will be offered, which one Volkswagen executive described as a “stretched Golf” (see right). The Golf has had far more acceptance in the U.S. market. The 2015 Volkswagen Passat that will appear in the U.S. will instead be a slightly updated version of the 2014, according to the company’s website.
Another exciting option is the Passat Plug-in hybrid, which was detailed on TorqueNews.com with its preliminary specifications. Meanwhile, the main upgrade seen in the Untied States otherwise is to the diesel engine for the Passat, according to Cars.com, which could at least mean it would set new records as it did last year.
Meanwhile, the Germans look towards China for car sales with their Volkswagen Passat leading the way.