Volkswagen announced a couple years ago some extremely ambitious sales forecasts for the future, projecting where, as an auto manufacturer, they hoped to be in terms of volume. At the time, no one could understand how these goals were attainable. As time has progressed, we are now seeing how VW plans on reaching these numbers. Homogenization. Of course, VW would never admit to that.
Still, what we have is the largest Passat ever, designed with the “tastes and lifestyles of Americans.” If you are anything like me, I cannot tell if I’ve just been insulted. The car was designed in Germany, but will be built at an all new factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Pricing will not be announced until Spring, but VW expects a base Passat to start around $20,000USD. Hit continue for more details of the 2011 Passat!
The new Passat will come in three trim levels: S, SE, and SEL. Three different engines will be offered:
1. VW’s familiar 2.5L inline five cylinder, good for 170hp. Buyers will have a choice of either a 5-speed manual (thanks VW, but it’s 2011, why no 6-speed?) or a six-speed automatic.
2. VW’s 2.o TDI four cylinder diesel, good for 43mpg on the highway. VW will offer its 6-speed twin clutch DSG tranny as an option.
3. Top-spec Passats will be powered by a 3.6L VR6 rated at 280hp, with the 6-speed DSG as the only transmission choice.
Will the new Passat outsell the outgoing car? Likely. Size and price matter to the American buyer, and the incoming Passat has that. Try this. Squint your eyes at the picture of the new Passat. See a little Accord, a little Taurus there? For a brand that once had Mercedes-Benz in their sights, this is a departure for VW. The remaining question is, how will VW loyalists respond to this change?