Posts Tagged ‘2012 vw passat’

First Drive: 2012 VW Passat

Striking a balance between German engineering and American tastes.

by on Jun.14, 2011

The new, 2012 U.S. version of the Volkswagen Passat shown at the maker's new plant in Chattanooga.

Volkswagen is betting big on the United States, as evidenced by the construction of a brand-new plant just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

That plant, which will build the North American version of the new 2012 Passat (Europeans will get a slightly different version), is set up to produce up to 150,000 units annually on two shifts.

That would mark a significant expansion for the German maker, which has long struggled to regain the foothold it had in the U.S. market in the ‘60s and ‘70s.  It would also help move VW ahead as it takes aim at rivals Toyota and General Motors in a big to become the world’s number one automaker by 2018.

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The redesigned Passat, following close upon last year’s updates of the Jetta and Touareg, is the next step in that plan. So is the production shift to the States.

The company is hoping to keep production and distribution costs low, so that the sticker price of the Passat can be brought down to a level that won’t send price-sensitive American motorists screaming in horror and heading to the nearest Hyundai showroom.


VW May More Than Triple Size of Chattanooga Plant

From bomb bunker to ground zero in the battle for automotive supremacy.

by on Jun.14, 2011

A nearly-completed 2012 Passat gets ready to roll off the line at VW's new Chattanooga plant.

If some of the early construction crews were a little nervous when work began on the new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, three years ago, they had a good reason.  In an irony not lost on members of the team overseeing the project, the mounds dotting the abandoned site had once housed World War II – era bunkers where the U.S. military stored bombs that would eventually be dropped all over Germany – perhaps on the VW plant in Wolfsburg, in fact.

To everyone’s good fortune, the bunkers proved empty.  And the fact is, these days, relations are a lot friendlier between the two countries.  But the sprawling facility is still on a war footing of sorts.

After years of dithering over its role in the U.S. market, Volkswagen has made a commitment to more than double its sales by 2018, to at least 800,000 vehicles annually.  Meanwhile, it hopes to bump its worldwide volumes to more than 8 million, Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn declaring, the company “continues to have its sights firmly set on capturing pole position in the automotive industry.”

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Chattanooga will play a critical role in meeting that goal – and that means that the plant that formally opened in the Southern heartland, last month, could very well undergo a significant expansion in the very near future.  Indeed, has learned, capacity could readily more than triple, according to a senior manager, “if it were appropriate.”


Surprise: Volkswagen Names New Midsize Sedan the Passat

First model planned for maker’s new U.S. assembly plant will start at under $20,000.

by on Jan.10, 2011

Volkswagen sticks with the time-tested Passat name for its New Midsize Sedan.

Drum roll, please?  And the name for the sedan that could determine the future of Volkswagen’s U.S. franchise?  Passat.

Say that again?  Passat.  The all-new 4-door, until now known by its codename, NMS, or New Midsize Sedan, is getting a familiar name, the same one that VW has used for nearly two decades.

Nonetheless, the maker asserted, at an invitation-only event prior to the opening of the Detroit Auto Show, the 2012 Passat sold in the U.S. will be a very different car from the sedan bearing that nameplate in the rest of the world.

It will need to be.  VW has very ambitious plans for the U.S., the only major market where it has been stuck in also-ran territory.  By 2018, the maker wants to roughly triple sales volume to 800,000 a year – critical if it expects to meet its corporate goal of displacing Toyota as the world’s largest automaker.


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