Volkswagen of America today announced that the 2012 Passat will range in asking prices from $20,765 to $33,720, including a $770 destination charge. Passat will be assembled in Chattanooga, Tennessee at a brand new plant that just opened.
The new Passat, Volkswagen claims, was designed specifically for the North American market, and comes with three powertrains and a several equipment levels. Passat normally would face fierce competition from the entrenched Japanese Big Three – Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Honda Accord – but its not clear if production disruptions at those makers will continue into the late summer when it will appear in dealer showrooms.
Passat is part of a Volkswagen Group plan to sell 800,000 VW models annually in the United States by 2018 – 1,000,000 with Bentley and Audi included. In the U.S., all VW Group brands delivered 360,300 units during 2010, corresponding to growth of 20.9% – a long way short of the goal.
The new Passat is larger, with a length of 191.7 inches (4,868 mm), wheelbase of 110.4 inches (2,803 mm); and a width 72.2 inches (1,835 mm). VW is making much of rear seat room. VW is also taking a page from the original Japanese play book, most recently used by Hyundai on its Sonata sedan, by cutting the price of the new Passat, which will start under $20,000 – a relative bargain given its size.
The Passat price leader is the 2.5L model with manual transmission and 170 horsepower with a starting MSRP of $19,995, plus $770 in shipping charges. The 2.5L model will be available in eight equipment levels, comes standard with automatic dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel audio controls and Volkswagen’s no-charge three-year/36,000 mile scheduled Carefree Maintenance Program. The SE model starts at $23,725 and includes additional equipment such as 17-inch alloy wheels, 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, touchscreen Premium VIII radio, and a multi-Function leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Other models in the Passat lineup include a 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel model with three trim levels that starts at $25,995, plus $770 in shipping charges. The Passat TDI – the only clean diesel option in the midsize segment – is expected to deliver 43 mpg highway, with a range of nearly 800 miles.
There is also a 280 horsepower 3.6L VR model in three trim levels that has a starting MSRP of $28,995, plus $770 in shipping charges. The VR6 model comes standard with a six-speed automatic DSG transmission. Additional standard “premium features” include 18-inch alloy wheels, comfort sport seats, a sunroof, and a class exclusive Fender® Premium Audio System.