According to a new Automotive News report, Volkswagen will axe the mid-size Passat sedan and Arteon from its global model line-up as SUVs continue to rise in popularity and all-electric vehicles (EVs) become a key focus for the German brand.
Two versions of the Passat sedan are currently available, with both the European (sold in Australia) and American set to go, although their wagon sibling in the Old Continent will enter at least one more generation, with its local popularity (particularly in Germany) ensuring it survives the cull – for now.
Prior to the Passat wagon being renewed by the end of 2023, its European and American sedan counterparts will bid adieu, while the Arteon liftback and Shooting Brake is seemingly set to be retired around the same time.
Volkswagen currently builds the European Passat in Emden, Germany, but production will shift to Bratislava, Slovakia, when the new wagon launches, with it to be built alongside the related Skoda Superb sedan and wagon. Of note, the former sells well in central and eastern Europe.
Automotive News says the Emden factory is being freed up for production of Volkswagen’s emerging ID family of EVs, including the ID.4 mid-size SUV and a new zero-emissions mid-size sedan and wagon codenamed Aero B, which is shaping up as the Passat’s coupe-styled spiritual successor.
The American Passat’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will make a similar move in 2022, with the ID.4 set to also be made there, while the Aero B could also be produced at the same facility in the future.
Similar to Australia, mid-size sedans are becoming increasingly unpopular in Europe, where private buyers are turning to more practical SUVs or sportier-looking fastbacks in droves, leaving fleets as their main purchasers – if they don’t opt for a wagon version instead.
It’s a familiar story in America, too, with sales of mid-size sedans declining while key brands pull their models out of the segment. In Australia, the Ford Mondeo and Subaru Liberty are the most recent causalities.