U.S. Built Volkswagen Passat Priced from $20,765 to $33,720

AutoInformed.com

It’s the largest Passat since its 1987 debut in a segment long dominated by the Japanese Big Three – Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima.

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.

(See Volkswagen Opens New Passat Plant in Tennessee and VW Passat Debuts at NAIAS. Will be Built in Tennessee)

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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