The next-generation Volkswagen Passat will come only as a wagon.
Thomas Schäfer, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, has confirmed rumours the next-generation model won’t be offered as a sedan.
In remarks reported by Automotive News Europe, Mr Schäfer also confirmed deliveries of the next-generation model will start in Europe in September.
It’ll be followed by the Skoda Superb, which will roll off the same production line in Bratislava, Slovakia. This will be the first generation of European Passat to not be produced in Emden, Germany as that plant is now producing electric vehicles.
The Superb will continue to be offered in two body styles: a liftback and a wagon.
The new Passat is expected to grow in size to more closely align with its Skoda cousin, and Mr Schäfer told Automotive News Europe the two vehicles have been developed by Skoda.
The two were Europe’s best-selling mid-sizers in 2022, with the Passat sitting at 66,621 sales – down 20 per cent – and the Superb at 45,042 sales.
The company has previously indicated the next-gen Passat remains under review for Australia.
Volkswagen had previously suggested it was weighing introducing a plug-in hybrid version of the next-generation Passat locally, but has subsequently stopped short of confirming a local launch for the next-gen model.
The company has also called the ID.7, an electric sedan similar in size to the Passat, “not on our list of ones that we’re trying really hard to bring in [to Australia]”.
The sedan version of the current European Passat has already ended production, and the unrelated North American Passat sedan also exited production around the same time.
That leaves just the Chinese-market, MQB-based Passat sedan.
Prototypes of the new Passat have been spied wearing disguise that makes them resemble the outgoing model, but nevertheless it’s likely it’ll be a fairly evolutionary design.
The current Passat wagon measures 4777mm long, 1832mm wide and 1477mm tall (1506mm on the Alltrack) on a 2791mm wheelbase.
The Alltrack shares the wagon’s dimensions except it’s 1506mm tall. All models have 650L of boot space, expanding to 1780L with the rear seats folded.
In contrast, the current Skoda Superb wagon is 79mm longer and 32mm wider on a 50mm longer wheelbase, and has an extra 10L of boot space, or 170L extra with the rear seats dropped.
Should the Passat exit the local line-up, it would represent the first time since 1994 that the brand hasn’t offered the long-running nameplate in Australia.
It would also leave the Arteon liftback and Shooting Brake wagon as the brand’s only mid-sized passenger cars in Australia.
The Arteon isn’t too far off the Passat in sales – Volkswagen sold 612 last year, against 759 Passats and 158 Passat Alltracks – but its future isn’t assured globally.
As far back as 2020 there have been reports the Arteon wouldn’t be replaced after the current generation.