The Volkswagen Passat has been with us since 1973 in eight official generations and a shit ton more facelifts, including one for the American market this year. Still, given the demand for SUVs and VW’s big push into electric vehicles, it wasn’t always clear if Passat would get a ninth generation, or even stick around at all. It seems it will do both.
That’s according to Autocar, which says that the ninth-generation Passat is planned for 2023, which, conveniently, would be the 50th anniversary for the car. The ninth-gen will also unite the Passat on a single platform, a version of the company’s MQB platform. That won’t be much of a change for Passats sold in Europe, which already are based on the MQB, but it will be for Passats sold here and in parts of China, which are currently built on the PQ46 platform, which dates to the second Bush administration.
More from Autocar:
From 2023, however, all Passats will be underpinned by an updated version of the MQB platform used by today’s model and supporting both front- and four-wheel drive. It’s claimed to provide scope for not only an increased number of mild and plug-in petrol and diesel hybrids but also the packaging of a fully electric drivetrain.
The styling of the new model, known internally as the B9, has already been completed, say Volkswagen insiders. They suggest it will take on an even more versatile role, with accommodation and load-carrying ability high priorities.
One insider said: “With the Arteon, we already have a style leader in the segment. This leaves the door open for the Passat to become even more space-orientated than today’s model.”
This all sounds like a bid to go upmarket with the Passat, which currently starts at $22,995, though I’d be very skeptical of that actually working; just ask Mazda how that’s gone.
Still, I’m glad the Passat will continue to exist in some fashion, though Autocar did not say if the move to a single platform for the Passat meant that it would leave the U.S. entirely, which wouldn’t be that surprising given that Passat sales here were down 66 percent last year to 14,123 in total. I emailed Volkswagen and will update this post the company gets back.