The move is seen to herald the arrival of the next generation Passat for North America, as the current “NMS” sedan has been with us since 2011 and a successor should be unveiled next year. During its tenure, the NMS has been sold with inline-five and VR6 engines, but for 2019, there will only be a two-liter turbo four. The available Passat trim levels will be the Wolfsburg Edition and the SE-R; the Wolfsburg trim comes with leatherette, 17″ wheels, keyless ignition, automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitoring. On top of that, the SE-R includes LED lighting, better infotainment and audio, adaptive cruise and other driving assists such as lane keeping and parking sensors. A six-speed automatic is the sole available transmission.
No pricing or sale date for the 2019 Passats have yet been announced, but we’ll surely know more in coming months. The Car Connection says that January to July sales of the Passat are down 34% in 2018 compared to 2017; whether that is down to declining midsize sedan sales in general or anticipation for a new generation Passat remains to be seen. However, the Tiguan crossover is said to be the best-selling Volkswagen on the U.S. market. The new North American Passat will again be designed separately for the continent and built in Tennessee, just like the NMS, but it will move onto the newer, modular MQB platform. The car is expected to grow in size to differentiate itself from the 2019 Jetta.