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William Maley

2012 Volkswagen Passat 2.5 SE

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William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

July 30, 2012

Volkswagen's tenure in the U.S. has been one of many changes. When introduced into the U.S. market during the 1950’s, Volkswagen was the funky value choice with a lineup including the Beetle and the Bus. In the 1970’s, Volkswagen would morph into the brand that would offer high-quality budget cars. The high quality would solider on, while the budget part would be pushed aside for premium from the 1980’s to the late 2000's.

Starting in this decade, Volkswagen made some ambitious plans, selling 800,000 vehicles in the U.S. by 2018. That meant changes once again to the lineup which caused some outrage in the automotive enthusiast world; shedding the luxury and sportiness that most enthusiasts have come to know about the German brands.

The Jetta and Passat would shed some of their premium trimmings to bring back the value oriented aspect that Volkswagen originated with. However, consumers have been going with crazy with the Jetta and Passat, both seeing huge sales since being introduced. At the end of last year, the Jetta saw a 54.5% increase in year to date sales and the Passat saw a 124% increase in year to date sales.

So what do consumers see that enthusiasts don’t in the Jetta and Passat? To find out, a 2012 Volkswagen Passat 2.5 SE was dropped off for a week’s evaluation.

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To be fair about the sales comparisons, the 2010 Passat was reduced to a single trim level, with only one drivetrain option (2.0T, auto, FWD). Also, there was no 2011 Passat in the States, just the CC.

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Bland Design language, bland build quality and just plain problems all the way around had led VW to their current status.

They need to make major changes to get the product line going again.

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To be fair about the sales comparisons, the 2010 Passat was reduced to a single trim level, with only one drivetrain option (2.0T, auto, FWD). Also, there was no 2011 Passat in the States, just the CC.

That is very true. I had wanted to pull the sales numbers from 2009, but Volkswagen's archives only go back to 2010.

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One has to wonder why the decision to pull what would seem to be successful models and send in new models only to have weak sales. I have never understood some of the decisions VW has made about the cars they sell here. The performance market for Pocket Rockets would tend to dictate that they should have their small performance cars here as they would sell in huge numbers. Even if one is not a performance fan, the styling is so much better than the bland stuff on the lots, one would think they would want to drive some buzz by having some designs that make people talk.

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One has to wonder why the decision to pull what would seem to be successful models and send in new models only to have weak sales.

The newer VW sedans are actually crushing the previous models in sales for one particular reason:

They're less expensive.

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Bland Design language, bland build quality and just plain problems all the way around had led VW to their current status.

They need to make major changes to get the product line going again.

Absolutely...like BMW they have sold their soul on the alter of pure volume, and they are as bland as Mazda in their current product lineup.

One has to wonder why the decision to pull what would seem to be successful models and send in new models only to have weak sales.

The newer VW sedans are actually crushing the previous models in sales for one particular reason:

They're less expensive.

One has to wonder why the decision to pull what would seem to be successful models and send in new models only to have weak sales.

The newer VW sedans are actually crushing the previous models in sales for one particular reason:

They're less expensive.

This is true, and for people who don't care much about what they drive, and who will trade out before the thing is out of warranty...not a bad choice.

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The Passat does look very bland, you have to have the upgraded sport wheels to give it any hope. The interior is plain too, but it is well organized and well put together. VW may have dumbed it down a little, but Toyota and Honda have made a fortune on selling bland and dumbed down, so they are giving the people what they want. Which is fitting for the "people's car"

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One has to wonder why the decision to pull what would seem to be successful models and send in new models only to have weak sales.

The newer VW sedans are actually crushing the previous models in sales for one particular reason:

They're less expensive.

dumping, IOW.....buying market share

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The newer VW sedans are actually crushing the previous models in sales for one particular reason:

They're less expensive.

dumping, IOW.....buying market share

Exactly. And they've made no secret about it, either by their words or their actions.

Replacing the base 2.0T in the Passat with the 2.5 I5, as well as replacing that same I5 with the 2.slow as the base engine in the Jetta, were completely cost-cutting moves. (To their credit, they are going to replace those two unloved engines for next MY.)

Still, chasing market share by cheapening your product never ends well.

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VW figures that only toyota, nissan, GM, Ford, Hyundai and a handful of others will be all that is left in a global attrition war. The likely see themselves as being the only global German automaker with a chance at huge volume....i.e. to be one of the top 3 or 5.

I think they fashion being top 3. By dumping, they might just pull it off.

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VW figures that only toyota, nissan, GM, Ford, Hyundai and a handful of others will be all that is left in a global attrition war. The likely see themselves as being the only global German automaker with a chance at huge volume....i.e. to be one of the top 3 or 5.

I think they fashion being top 3. By dumping, they might just pull it off.

VW figures that only toyota, nissan, GM, Ford, Hyundai and a handful of others will be all that is left in a global attrition war. The likely see themselves as being the only global German automaker with a chance at huge volume....i.e. to be one of the top 3 or 5.

I think they fashion being top 3. By dumping, they might just pull it off.

If yopu count SEAt and Skoda and the Chinese brands they own, by some counts they are almost already #1.

So long as they keep building the good ole GTI and Goldf diesel in Germany, and keeping the quality up on them, I won't mind too much.

Sort of the same thing as Porsche building 4 doors so they can stay alive to build the Cayman and the 911....

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We'll be doing a Roadmasters version of this car in a few weeks as well when Abert and I take a TDI on a 1,000 mile trip.

Very cool, will be interesting to hear about the road trip rattles and road noise. :)

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We'll be doing a Roadmasters version of this car in a few weeks as well when Abert and I take a TDI on a 1,000 mile trip.

We'll be doing a Roadmasters version of this car in a few weeks as well when Abert and I take a TDI on a 1,000 mile trip.

I'll be waiting to hear your response!

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