The redesigned Volkswagen Passat has been a decent seller since its debut in 2011, but sales have apparently dropped off enough that the automaker is trimming some of the employees from its Chattanooga, TN assembly plant. According to Automotive News, Volkswagen will be cutting shifts and laying off 500 contracted workers in response to slowing sales.

Currently, the plant has three teams running 10-hour shifts Monday through Saturday, but starting May 13, this will be reduced down to two teams running 10-hour shifts Monday through Thursday. This will be done to reduce dealer inventory (the article says that VW dealers, on average, have a 97-day supply of Passats) and production capacity (currently running at an annual pace of 170,000 units, which is more than the 150,000 annual units the plant was planned to produce).

This, of course, isn't saying that the Passat has been a failure since VW added 200 full-time employees to the plant in February 2012 to keep up with increased demand. The AN article says that automakers frequently overstaff plants during the launch of a new product – or in this case, a new product and a new plant – but eventually reduce the workers as things run smoother and more efficiently.


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  • 29 Comments
      vizcarmb
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well that sucks. Didnt they just open this plant a few years back
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Perhaps the UAW will use this as excuse to unionize the Chattanooga plant.
      svrfsvp
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Reduced down" - nice.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      RGT881
      • 1 Year Ago
      So in order to buy this bland oversized Jetta, one would have to overlook the new Fusion, new Altima, much better now looking Camry, better made Accord, Sonata, and the awful Malibu. Malibu still has an advantage because it's 'Merican. From the offset I've predicted that this Passat is going to do okay for a while, but when sales of C/D segment cars will start to slump, it will be the FIRST one to feel major pain. Sure enough.
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RGT881
        The Passat has a decent street presence because of it's emphasis on horizontal styling lines, giving it a wide and substantial look that others in the segment lack. That and reviewers show it to feel and ride like a heavier, more upscale car than the others. I offer no excuses for the Jetta. I rented one last year and it was depressing, except for the ginormous back seat. I don't know why people buy these things, knowing that it isn't as reliable and doesn't offer anything special over the Japanese brands.
          drchaos
          • 1 Year Ago
          @superchan7
          Sad for you guys ... the Jetta we get is the 1.4 L Twin charged engine and boy does it have a kick. 160 hp and 177 pound feet. They don't offer you guys that engine because the average american would get a stroke trying to wrap their heads around owning a 1.4L engine ...
          TBN27
          • 1 Year Ago
          @superchan7
          The main problem of the Jetta is the cheap cheap interior, which they have resolved in 2013. They ditched the hard plastic dash and flimsy climate control knobs and added soft touch plastic for the dashboard and better feeling control switches. The door panels though are still cheap plastic. The even added power seat controls and brought back the electric power steering from the hydraulic one they installed back in 2011.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Carlos Cruz
        • 1 Year Ago
        You should visit the German auto plants. With a workforce and management so loyal to each other and the company, it makes the UAW people look apathetic. (For the record, I do like the UAW)
      D.Smithee
      • 1 Year Ago
      And we were expecting--what? That Americans would continue to buy 'Volkswagens' after the allure had faded? C'mon. Our collective attention span as a nation is pretty weak--and these Americanized versions of real Volkswagens were laughable at best.
      Matt
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Passat is missing some basic options (Xenon headlights, mainly) that are available on their competitors' offerings. They just need a refresh with more aggressive styling and more options.
        Mr Sled
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Matt
        Agreed. And the new 1.8 turbo. VW has it in them to knock a refresh out of the park with this car. It is roomy and comfortable, but falling behind as of late.
        atc98092
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Matt
        The lack of Xenons was the one thing that made me go with a Tiguan instead. However, after having the Tig for two years now I don\'t think I\'ll ever go back to a sedan. As I get older I really like the higher seating position and not having to lower myself into a sedan. How my neighbor gets into his Lamborghini I\'ll never know. I doubt I could get back out!
          audisp0rta4
          • 1 Year Ago
          @atc98092
          If you owned a Lamborghini, you wouldn't want to get back out.
      desinerd1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks like people who got swindled by the marketing hype have learned their lesson. Year after year VW ranks at the bottom of brand loyalty.
        Carlos Cruz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @desinerd1
        Because climbing to #3 in world-wide sales, and consistent 25-30% y-o-y increases in sales = low brand loyalty?
        J
        • 1 Year Ago
        @desinerd1
        Evidence?
      ChrisH
      • 1 Year Ago
      well they should be back as soon as that 7 passenger cuv/suv whatever starts up
      Shiftright
      • 1 Year Ago
      These things are so dull I think most Americans just forgot they existed and stopped buying them . It makes the Camry look exciting
      icerabbit
      • 1 Year Ago
      So much for the world domination plans ...
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