Until recently, Volkswagen has aimed at offering a more premium experience than mainstream brands. “Because it’s better” was the mantra. Now it’s “great for the price of good.” This has come to the chagrin of enthusiasts, but not to the general buying public. Case in point is the 2012 Volkswagen Passat.
Unlike any Passat before it, the current model is aimed directly at the American market. That means conservative styling. a bigger footprint, lots of rear legroom and a lower price tag. The Passat, along with the Jetta, is a key part of VW’s goal to boost American sales to 800,000 units by 2018. That, in turn, is part of a larger goal to become the world’s largest automaker by 2018.
At this point, most of us don’t doubt VW’s ability to hit that target. To demonstrate its commitment to the U.S-market, VW spent $1 billion building a new factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. That is where the Passat is built. Less than nine months ago, the Passat went on sale. Now VW has announced that the 100,000th car has been built since the plant’s opening. Passat #100,000 is a 2.0-liter TDI (gas prices are having their effect) SEL Premium finished in Night Blue Metallic.
That 100,000 figure is for every vehicle produced at the plant, meaning export models (Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the Middle East), dealer vehicles, preproduction builds and the like. Still, it is an important milestone – Passat sales are on an upward swing. “Producing 100,000 Passats so soon after the vehicle went on sale in September 2011 is a testament to all the hard work that has gone into making our LEED-certified Chattanooga plant and the Passat such a success, both here and abroad,” says Jonathan Browning, President and Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen of America. If all goes according to their plan, it’ll take less time to hit the 200,000 marker.