Volkswagen's current Passat commanded sales of more than 100,000 units per year in the United States when it arrived in 2012 but last year the total came in at just 14,123 units. The automaker is now looking at transforming the once-popular mid-size sedan into a battery-electric car to stem the steep decline, a senior executive has revealed.
"(The) Passat is a car that has a finite lifespan in terms of our planning," Johan de Nysschen, VW North America's chief operating officer, told Roadshow in an interview published February 6. "It's probably a reasonable assumption that when this Passat reaches the end of its lifecycle, its successor will probably not feature an internal-combustion engine."
It's something VW has already hinted at with the ID Vizzion and ID Space Vizzion battery-electric concepts which potentially preview redesigns of the Passat and Passat wagon sold overseas. The ID Vizzion has already been confirmed for production around 2022 and it's likely the ID Space Vizzion will join it around that time.
Volkswagen ID Vizzion concept
VW ID Space Vizzion, 2019 LA Auto Show
The concepts are based on Volkswagen Group's MEB modular EV platform and offer up to 300 miles of range based on the EPA's test cycle, according to VW. An 80-percent charge in as little as 30 minutes when using a 150-kilowatt charger is also possible.
Given the current Passat's low volumes here, it's unlikely VW will once again develop unique versions of the Passat for North America and the rest of the world, so whatever the rest of the world gets will likely end up here, too.
In a separate interview with Motor Authority published Feb. 7, de Nysschen also hinted at more performance models being added to VW's lineup in the U.S. He said they were important in raising a brand's appeal. Currently there's only the Golf GTI and Golf R to satisfy enthusiasts.