Volkswagen Canada confirmed it will drop the slow-selling Passat sedan after the 2022 model to boost plans to build electric vehicles at its Chattanooga Assembly complex in Tennessee. But the car won't get the same sendoff in Canada that it will receive in the United States, where it's also being discontinued.
Volkswagen of America on Monday said it will end the run with 1,973 Limited Edition models that will include features that pay homage to both Chattanooga -- where it has been built since 2011 -- and its German ancestry. The number of Limited Edition models notes when the Passat was introduced in the United States as the Dasher for the 1974 model year. It was later known as the Quantum before assuming the Passat nameplate in 1990.
The Passat will be available in fleet sales only in Canada for the 2022 model year, and there will be no special edition Passats available either.
Canadian sales of the Passat were up 85 per cent during the first six months of 2021, but that is compared with the pandemic-stricken first two quarters of 2020. At 1,287 units sold through June this year, the car remains the automaker's slowest-selling vehicle, other than the Arteon.
U.S. Sales of the midsize sedan were up 13 per cent in the first six months of 2021 over the same period the previous year, to 11,367, and up 63 per cent in 2020 during the pandemic to 22,964, but those gains came after massive falls. VW sold 41,401 Passats in the U.S. in 2018 and 60,722 in 2017.
The brand freshened the Passat in in 2019 instead of doing a planned redesign onto its global MQB platform as other markets did because of slowing sales. VW said ending the Passat will allow its Chattanooga plant flexibility to boost sales of its other products, the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport crossovers, as well as the launch of the ID4 EV there next year.
"We've sold some version of the Passat for nearly 50 years, and the Passat launched our relationship with Chattanooga, which supports thousands of jobs," Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said in a statement. "With the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport in high demand, and the North American production launch of the all-electric ID4 SUV next year, our future in Chattanooga looks brighter than ever."
Greg Layson of Automotive News Canada contributed to this report.