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Volkswagen axes Passat sedan Down Under

Police fleet orders ‘safe’, private buyers offered wagon and Arteon liftback variants

11 Jan 2022

VOLKSWAGEN has axed local sales of its Passat sedan following slow sales of the model globally. 


The German manufacturer will continue to produce wagon and Alltrack variants of its current B8-series model – which accounted for 80 per cent of all Passat sales – and says New South Wales and Victorian police fleet orders of the sedan are “safe” for now. 


The Volkswagen Passat sedan has already been discontinued in Europe and North America. China is now the only country to produce three-box versions of the Passat – the model has defied global trends to remain a strong seller in the Chinese domestic market.


Locally, however, Volkswagen hatch, SUV and LCV models prove more popular. The Polo and Golf ranges continue to sell strongly while SUVs, such as the T-Cross, Tiguan, T-Roc and Touareg, also perform well. The soon-to-be-renewed Amarok, likewise, continues to sell in impressive numbers.


In 2021, Volkswagen sold 7659 examples of the Amarok ahead of 6104 T-Cross variants and 5125 Polo models. The T-Roc was the next best seller with 4838 units, ahead of the Tiguan Allspace (3966), Tiguan (3772), Golf (1926) and Touareg (1261). VW sold 948 examples of the Passat and 221 Passat Alltrack variants, 71 Arteon models and just two Golf Alltracks. 


The remainder of Volkswagen Australia’s total annual sales of 40,770 units comprised of light commercial van models including Caddy, Crafter, Multivan and Transporter.


“It’s true to say that Volkswagen Passenger Vehicles is now essentially a ‘five door’ brand in that its offer will be SUVs, wagons and hatchbacks. Apart from the new Shooting Brake configuration, even the Arteon ‘sedan’ is strictly speaking a liftback,” Volkswagen Group Australia general manager of corporate communications Paul Pottinger told GoAuto.


“It’s a question of diminishing demand, both locally and globally, for traditional four door cars.” 


Private buyers may continue to purchase wagon variants of the Passat, however. The range comprises 162TSI Elegance ($55,990) and 206TSI R-Line ($65,990) variants, or Passat Alltrack derivatives, including the 162TSI Alltrack ($48,990) and 162TSI Alltrack Premium ($60,990). 


The outgoing Passat sedan range was priced from $48,990 (plus on-road costs) for the 140TSI Business variant and $53,990 (+ORCs) for the high-grade 162TSI Elegance.


The Passat-based Arteon liftback remains available in four-door coupe and five-door shooting brake body styles. Arteon 140TSI Elegance ($61,740) and 206TSI R-Line ($68,740) liftback variants sit alongside 140TSI Elegance Shooting Brake ($63,740) and 206TSI R-Line Shooting Brake ($70,740) models in Volkswagen’s local range.


Volkswagen Passat sedan and wagon variants were produced at Volkswagen’s Emdem production facility in Germany. It is understood that the additional capacity available from the demise of the Passat sedan will now be utilised to produce electric vehicles. 


The ninth-generation Passat will be produced at the same facility in wagon form only from 2023.


The once-booming Australian medium car market will soon feature just eight players, each accounting for a mere fraction of the sales share achieved by their SUV counterparts. 


In 2021, the most popular mid-size models sold in Australia included the Toyota Camry (13,081), Mazda 6 (1491), Skoda Octavia (1279), Volkswagen Passat (948), Hyundai Sonata (603), Subaru Liberty (267), Peugeot 508 (240), Honda Accord (90), Subaru Levorg (8) and Ford Mondeo (4).


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