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It hasn't been without incident or union organizing drive, but the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, TN has built its 250,000 Passat in just a little over two years. The Night Blue Passat TDI with black leather has come just two years and five weeks after the first customer car came off the line on April 18, 2011.
In the last year the plant operated at the 150,000-unit capacity that it was intended for, but the downturn in Passat sales and subsequent worker layoffs mean it will be a challenge to repeat the feat. The plant does have the world's largest solar park, though, and you can't take that away from them.
You'll find the official hand-clapping in the press release below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Each year, the Vienna International Motor Symposium showcases some of the up-and-coming technologies automakers are engineering for the use in passenger cars, and Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn revealed some big developments VW is working on for its future products. Winterkorn discussed a multi-faceted approach that VW is looking to reduce its fleet fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
Some of the bigger news he discussed included a "high-performance" diesel engine that will produce 134 horsepower per liter and a 10-speed DSG automatic transmission. While no specific applications were mentioned, we can only hope this is for the Audi R4 we keep hearing about.
Another topic he touched on that caused us to perk up our ears was had to do with VW's plug-in hybrid technology. While we know the PHEV versions of the Audi A3 and Porsche Panamera are on the way, Winterkorn also said that these two models will be followed up by Golf, Passat, Audi A6 and Porsche Cayenne plug-in models. Scroll down for a press release highlighting the automaker's future fuel-saving initiatives.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Volkswagen has just announced a new Passat Wolfsburg Edition, which slots between the base S and mid-grade SE trims in terms of content and price. The automaker has not released any official photos of the car as of this writing (aside from the badge shot you see here, of course), but the Wolfsburg Passat will be visually set apart from the rest by a unique set of 16-inch alloy wheels.
The big host of upgrades for the Wolfsburg Edition are found inside, where buyers will enjoy standard amenities like leatherette seats (with bun-warmers on the front chairs), a power driver's seat, satellite radio and a media interface with iPod connectivity. Of course, this comes on top of the already standard Passat features like Bluetooth and auto on/off headlamps. The Wolfsburg Passat will only be available with the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission.
Look for the 2013 Wolfsburg Edition Passat to hit dealerships in the very near future, priced from $23,495, *not including $795 for destination. Speaking of dealers, Volkswagen is currently sitting on an average 97-day supply of Passat models, and recently laid off 500 workers at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant to accommodate for the production reduction.
Have a look below for Volkswagen's official press blast.Permalink | Email this | Comments
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.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Yes. it is January, and that means the 2013 North American International Auto Show is underway in Detroit. Of particular interest to this VW devotee was the Passat Performance Concept. The Garage has sampled the latest Passat, and is our pick for best mid-size sedan available in North America. And there is no denying the success of the new Passat ,which has shattered prior sales records in the US . Why? Well, VW wanted to appeal to a wider audience here, so we get the ‘American’ Passat, as opposed past generations of Passats, which was the European idea of what a mid-size car should be. Sure, the auto media heaped praise on past Passats, but the car met with limited appeal here in the States.
Volkswagen’s ambitious, and so far successful attempt to dramatically increase sales here has, inevitably, left many of the brand’s fiercely loyal buyers out in the cold. We have not been forgotten. As much as the new Jetta disappointed me, the Jetta GLI gave some assurance VW hadn’t completely lost the script.
Which leaves us with the Passat Performance Concept. Those of you thinking this signals a return to the halcyon days of W-8 Passats, think again. No, this sporty Passat sports a drivetrain much more in tune with today’s market, namely a 1.8L turbocharged, direct injected four cylinder rated at 250hp paired to a six-speed automatic. Other upgrades include dual exhaust, 19″ alloys, bi-xenon headlights, LED taillights, and carbon mirror caps. Inside, the concept features carbon accents and a two color leather interior. Finally, a lowered sport suspension and revised steering promise an improved driving experience.
Yes, the Passat Performance Concept is, of course, just that-a concept. Surely, VW is using the auto show to get a feel of how the car buying public would receive a more buttoned-down Passat. Also, it is a nod to the VW faithful. In my opinion, building this car is a no brainer. The modifications are slight, and VW already offers the same engine in foreign markets, so why not? Not to mention plenty of the Passat’s direct competition already offer turbocharged four cylinder engines (Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion). Stay tuned to see in concept becomes reality.
There was a lot of built-up excitement surrounding the larger and less costly 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, but the anticipation deflated among critics when the model's less-than-impressive interior was revealed to the world. Critics chided the cheapened cabin, and quite a few negative reviews followed.
It's tough to argue that in the process of its upsizing, the Jetta's interior wasn't downgraded with lesser plastics and trim. The 2012 Passat does a much better job in this regard, but even then there are some areas where it feels like cost has been taken out of the cabin. But none of that is apparently enough to stop designer Jae Min from taking issue with these characterizations. Ward's Automotive reports that VW's chief U.S. designer claims that the Jetta and Passat interiors were not the victims of cost-cutting. Min claims that the money was simply re-purposed, with money shifting "from here to there." The designer went on to add that the automaker was able to lower the starting price of both vehicles in part because of more flexible vehicle architectures and shifting production from Germany to the States.
While Min sounds convinced that no pennies were pinched, we're not so sure - unless when he says money was shifted "from here to there" he means "from where you can see and feel to where you can't." Regardless of what we think, one statistic is impossible to argue: Jetta sales have shot up 43.9 percent this year and Passat sales have skyrocketed by 80.9 percent. That, ladies and gentlemen, is letting the numbers do the talking.Permalink | Email this | Comments