The 2011 Detroit Auto Show is underway, and tonight's reveal of the new Volkswagen "NMS" mid-size sedan is being preceded with word about the car's name.
According to a report in the Detroit News, the new sedan will carry the Passat name.
If the reports are accurate, the new four-door will follow the pattern set by the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, which differs substantially from the European Jetta, with its longer body, larger interior and less nicely finished interior. Most versions of the American-market Jetta are sourced from VW's plant in Puebla, Mexico.
When it arrives in showrooms next year as a 2012 model, the Tennessee-built Passat will be markedly different from the version sold in Europe. That car received a mild update this year, with a new front end and powertrain changes. The U.S.-made Passat will be a larger vehicle, optimized for the U.S. market and the stiff competition brought by cars like the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, the Chevrolet Malibu, the Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion, and the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
Volkswagen will share some components between European and American Passats, the paper reports.
The new Volkswagen plant is tooling up for production outside Chattanooga, Tennessee. The plant, and VW's newest models, are part of a grand plan to boost sales volume from about 300,000 units to more than 800,000 VW sales in the U.S. per year. The plant will initially have a capacity of 150,000 units, the paper adds, but the long-term plan leaves room for a total of 500,000 units a year from the factory and future expansions.