Volkswagen AG is phasing out sales of the Passat sedan in the United States, the last well-known nameplate to leave American showrooms as automakers embrace sport utility vehicles.
The German automaker said on Monday that the 2022 model year will be the last edition of the midsize sedan, which has been sold in the United States as Passat since 1990. VW said it was focusing on selling SUVs and the start of production in the United States. year of its new electric model, the ID.4.
Automakers have reduced their passenger car lines in recent years, abandoning sedan and sedan models while adding more SUVs and pickup trucks. U.S. buyers have turned to rides that have better utility and allow drivers to sit higher, a change driven in part by a relatively long period of relatively low gasoline prices.
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The proliferation of so-called crossover SUVs, which are built on a car chassis, has allowed automakers to offer smaller SUV body styles and better fuel efficiency than larger, truck-like SUVs, which are became popular in the early 1990s.
Other sedan names that have been scrapped in recent years include the Chevrolet Impala, Ford Focus, Dodge Dart, and Chrysler 200. VW phased out its quirky little Beetle car in 2019.
Sales of the Passat, which rivals other family cars such as the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord, have steadily declined in recent years, along with other sedan models. VW sold around 23,000 Passats last year, up from around 78,000 in 2015, according to research firm Motor Intelligence.
Production of the Passat in Europe will continue, a VW spokesperson said.
Auto makers in Detroit have moved away from the passenger car trend, winning most models in their lines as they capitalize on their historic strengths in pickup trucks and SUVs. Ford, for example, recently detailed plans to sell the small Maverick pickup truck, with a starting price of around $ 20,000, the cheapest vehicle in Ford showrooms in the United States.
VW and other automakers are also rethinking their vehicle lines as they prepare to roll out dozens of electric models in the coming years. VW’s plans for plug-in cars are among the most aggressive of the world’s automakers.
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VW started selling a North American version of its European model Passat under the Dasher name. It was sold as Passat in the United States from 1990 and over the years has been sold as a sedan and wagon.
In 2011, VW began US production of Passat sedans at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The company said the plant remains busy producing SUVs, such as the mid-size Atlas, and will start manufacturing electric cars.