Volkswagen announced the end of North American Passat production last July, and the final models rolled off the Chattanooga assembly line back in December. In total, the Chattanooga factory built more than 800,000 examples of the Passat since the start of production in 2011.
The Passat and the Chattanooga plant are closely associated, as not only was it the start of U.S. Passat production, but it was the start of the U.S. getting a completely unique Passat model. It was notably larger than its European namesake, and it was made more affordable. While it didn’t totally please car critics, it resonated with buyers at least for a while. In 2011, the final year of European-style Passat sales in the U.S., the company only sold 22,835. The following year, with the introduction of the American Passat, 125,212 examples found homes. That was the best-selling year for the American Passat, though, as sales declined almost every year after, except for a slight increase in 2020, which could have been a combination of a refreshed model launching, as well as the oddly strong pandemic car market. In its final year, VW sold 24,398 Passats in the U.S.
It’s a bit sad to see another sedan leave the marketplace, but we can’t deny that the Passat wasn’t a favorite of ours. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t especially competitive. In fact, it was only ever refreshed since the American variant was first launched for 2012. The latest update came for the 2020 model. It did offer a nicely spruced up interior, and that interior was still quite enormous. It was also a solid cruiser. However, the competition could also cruise, and did so without being soft, squishy and otherwise un-engaging. The competition typically offered nicer interiors, too. The 2018 Passat GT was something of an exception. It didn’t offer any more power than your typical Passat with the VR6 engine, but sportier suspension and a sweet-sounding exhaust made it a surprisingly enjoyable sedan. It was discontinued soon after its launch, though.
The European Passat will continue to be offered in its respective markets. The production capacity at Chattanooga will be filled by the VW ID.4 electric SUV. It will join the VW Atlas, which is also built at the factory.