Car companies have discarded brands and models over the years. General Motors completely discontinued the Hummer, Pontiac, and Saturn brands in 2009. Pontiac had been a car brand since 1926. More recently, Ford discontinued most of its car brands, an acknowledgment that Americans had become more frequent buyers of SUVs, pick-ups, and crossovers. Recently, the world’s largest car company decided to kill a brand it has sold in the U.S. for three decades.
Volkswagen, which sold over 10 million vehicles in the world last year and moved ahead of Toyota as the world’s top car company, is killing the Passat. VW did not give an exact date, but it will be soon. It is yet another sedan that has struggled because Americans simply do not want midsized cars. VW will focus on its Atlas SUV, Taos subcompact SUV and new ID.4 electric crossover.
The VW Passat has been sold in the U.S. since the sedan’s third generation, starting in 1990. Prior to that, the Passat was sold here as the Dasher starting in 1974 and as the Quantum from 1982 until 1990. It was built in the U.S. starting in 2011.
The Passat’s sales have fallen sharply over the years. According to Good Car, Bad Car, in 2020 monthly sales barely averaged 1,000. In 2013, the number was almost ten times higher.
VW sells three sedans in the U.S. The least expensive is the Jetta with a base price of $18,995. The Passat has a base price of $23,995. The Arteon has a base price of $36,995. VW has five SUVs–the Atlas, Atlas Cross Sport, the ID.4, and Tiguan, and the upcoming Taos.
The Passat’s appeal is, among other things, that it is “sporty”. Its small 2.0 Liter Turbo has the power of a V-6. Its gas mileage is attractive for people who want to keep travel costs low. It gets 36 MPG on the highway according to the EPA.
The metaphorical junkyard of car brands has been filling up for decades. The Passat will go there soon.