• Oct 8, 2009

While we were chatting with VW of America CEO Stefan Jacoby in Wolfsburg, Germany, the subject of its new 'Merican-built car came up. The so-called NMS or New Midsize Sedan will replace the Passat in the US VW lineup. This model will be unique to the North American market, which brought up a question about the last "Americanized" VW.

For those not old enough to remember, Volkswagen opened a factory in Westmoreland county Pennsylvania in 1978 and closed it a decade later. When the plant started building the Rabbit (aka MK 1 Golf) VW's home office modified the Rabbit to make it "more appealing" to American buyers. That meant giving it rectangular headlights and making it softer and losing much of the German character that made it fun to drive.

Jacoby promises that won't happen this time around. Instead, the process of adaption will involve growing the sedan to bring it on par with the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. The current Passat is considered to be just a bit too small inside by comparison. What won't change is the tight suspension setup and styling consistent with other contemporary VWs.

The current Passat is also pricey compared to its primary segment competitors. This is one of the main reasons the new car will be built Stateside. VW is currently sourcing parts and systems from US located suppliers which should bring down the cost basis of the new model by taking exchange rates out of the equation.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Soft suspension, wider seats, more supersized cupholders, increased weight, fewer individual option choices and more packaged options, the VW CamcCord will arrive soon.

      Prove me wrong Jacoby, prove me wrong.

      How will VW price this to compete? Will it be priced higher than the Golf? A base two door manual transmission Golf TDI starts at $22,889 which is already significantly higher than $20,145 price of a base Camry. That same Camry is priced at $18,535 at CarsDirect.
      Will VW lower prices for the current Golf and Jetta? Or will VW price it's new Passat at Avalon and Maxima prices?
        • 5 Years Ago
        If they are competing with Camry and Accord AND building a factory HERE to compete with said models, I think it's a foregone conclusion it will compete in PRICE with the Accord and Camry. That's the whole point of the article. The exchange rate makes VWs cost more, they car building a bigger car here to lower it's price.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Like this:

        Base price of new sedan = $17,999
        Base + floor mats = $23,999
        Base + TDI + floor mats = slightly less than the cost of a new Space Shuttle
      • 5 Years Ago
      That Passat looks like a Camaro.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The monster has spoken.

        It'll be interesting to compare the american and european Passats for next generation, it should be a really clear indication of how the european and american markets are different.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The monster has spoken.

        It'd be interesting to compare the american and euro
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have decided that marketers do not read history.... They are blunt dumb instruments....
      • 5 Years Ago
      zamafir, I figure I'm a part of that statistic. wagon side any how. My wife and I have owned 5 passat wagons had a B2, B3, B4, B5 and a B5.5(currently have the B5 and 5.5) We were considering a new Passat wagon. The one we test drove felt cheaper than our 2003, it was getting close to being too big, vinyl seats (contribution to the cheap feeling). But I think the number one big hit was no manual trans!?

      My wife loves the CC though, and it can be had with a manual(though only in the base model...)

      But for the time being we'll just work on keeping the current passats we have on the road for as long as possible. Because really... new one bigger than the B6? and I bet no manuals for sure.
      • 5 Years Ago
      There were two products developed in the U.S. at that time, the "lovely" "Americanizzzed" Rabbit and......the GTI.
      Maybe we can be forgiven.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Face it, Americans are fat. And Volkswagen recognizes this. Instead of building a skinny car for the skinniest 25% of Americans, it is going to build a car that nearly all Americans can be comfortable in... all but the most morbidly obese, who will have to ride in the back of an F150 pickup.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't see them altering the "German" character of the car at all. Americans love German cars - they just can't afford the ones they want to buy. Nobody cross-shops an E-Class and a Camry. There's really nothing price-competative from the Germans in those segments except for the Passat, and as the article states, they are smaller than the competition and suffer from the price premium necessitated by their importation.

      Americans might have a jingoistic attachment to their F-150s and Corvettes, but nobody buys a Malibu because they're a die-hard Chevy fan. They buy it because it probably was the cheapest car with the features they wanted at the time, or the Chevy dealership was closest and the salesperson intimidated them into the purchase. It's a great car, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't sell because of its inherent "Americanness."

      I think this is a great idea. I just hope they don't make it big enough and scale the trim options high enough that they dump their plans to bring back the Phaeton because I'm really looking forward to robbing some VW dealer blind picking one up just off lease.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No need to sacrifice on space and safety, the U.S. has had a select amount of very high quality diesels since 1996. Volkswagen was able to import their legendary 1.9 TDI motor that produces its maximum power at a low 1900 RPM, something that most, if any, gas engines can't do. The 1996 Passat TDI Stationswagons (B4Vs), are also the largest Passat VW ever produced. With the TDI motor, they get up to 50 M.P.G., even higher with minor modifications. Diesels also run much cleaner than gas engines.

      Read more at www.nicecarsco.com
      • 5 Years Ago
      What is it that VW doesn't understand about American drivers for the most part? No much! Yes, VW WILL modify the german character that makes the cars 'fun to drive' because most American driver's don't give a rat's @$$ about 'german character.' Autoblog readers, contributors, and associated gearheads may, but how many of them are going to be buying the NMS? The real competition is the Camry or Malibu or Altima....the NMS will be dumbed down and/or decontented to sell in the real American market. If VW doesn't, then the new GM will be successful at making money...which is what Alfred P. Sloan was really all about. Cars, not so much. Money, yeah.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ironic that VW is stratifying its global offerings just as GM/Ford are unifying their Euro and US lineups.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've always thought the Jetta and Passat didn't differentiate sufficiently in size.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm the first to admit I'm a long time VW owner/fan, but let's not lie to ourselves here guys. The fact is the average American is overweight and the problem is getting worse, not better. As much as I'd like to see VW buck the trend and build a smaller, tight driving family sized sedan, it's just not realistic for this market.

      That being said, they need to walk a fine line between making the car larger and giving it some driving dynamics to separate it from the holy trinity. Hopefully they learned a good lesson from the success of the CC, that they can do both. VW should always try to position itself as the choice for "drivers." I'll never own a Passat in a million years, but if they can make it at least slightly more sporty than an Accord then I think we're in good shape.

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