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The Volkswagen Passat Is Finally Out of Production in the US

It's the end of a 48-year run for the Passat in America.

If there’s one overwhelming trend in the modern US auto market, it’s the death of the car as we know it. Consumers have flocked to SUVs and trucks in droves, and some companies have all but eliminated cars from their lineup entirely. The latest domino to fall is the Volkswagen Passat, as Volkswagen of America has announced the end of the model’s tenure in the United States.

The last-ever Passat for the US rolled off the production line in Chattanooga, Tennessee in December. The 2022 Passat Limited Edition was a handsome thing, finished in Platinum Grey. The Chattanooga Assembly plant will now shift to producing electric vehicles, with the site set to start assembling the ID.4 electric SUV later this year. The facility is also set to become an EV testing hub for Volkswagen’s North American operations.

Workers wave goodbye to the last Passat to be built in America., Volkswagen

Passat production was originally slated to wind up for the 2023 model year. However, slow sales prompted the axing to be brought forward to December 2021. 

The Passat has had a long and storied history in the US, first entering the market in 1974. Since then, more than 1.8 million Passats have been sold in the US. However, the model has seen several unique names over the years, first sold under the Dasher name, before switching to Quantum for the second generation. The Passat finally earned its true name in the US in 1990, with the release of the third-generation model. 

Final Limted Edition models featured an aerial map of the Chattanooga plant inside the cup holders. , Volkswagen

For the first six generations of Passat, cars were imported from Europe for sale. However, in 2011, a unique version of the Passat for the US and China came to market. The vehicle was larger than the European model, while being a more downscale model with fewer luxuries to better compete on price with other mid-size sedans on sale in North America. The model got a further facelift for the 2020 model year, and while the Chinese market shifted to another version of the Passat, the US model continued to be exported to Canada and the Middle East. 

While it’s the end of the sedan in America, the numbers show what a great run the vehicle had over its almost 50 year run in the US. As an easy comparison, Volkswagen sold more Passats in the US than Mazda has sold Miatas worldwide, even if the timescales aren’t exactly the same. As an alternative comparison, though, Honda has sold over 1.9 million Civics in the United States in the last six years alone. 

Over the years, millions of Americans have gone about their business behind the wheel of one of these cars. It may never have had quite the same mass appeal as the Volkswagen Golf, but the Passat will nonetheless remain a valued part of Volkswagen’s history in North America.

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