The situation right now with the Passat is a bit confusing as there are three versions depending on region. You have the new one launched recently in China based on the MQB platform, the forthcoming 2020 U.S.-spec Passat stuck with the old underpinnings, and the European version seen here preparing for its mid-cycle refresh.
The version sold in Euro countries switched to the MQB platform back in 2015 with the launch of the eighth generation. Fast forward to present day, VW is about to give it a nip and tuck. The company based in Wolfsburg says it’s making changes to its Emden factory in Northern Germany to get ready for the updated Passat. As per the very few details released about the midsize model, VW says it will continue to sell the car in both sedan and wagon flavors with a choice between conventionally powered engines and plug-in hybrids.
Gallery: 2019 VW Passat facelift new spy photos
The GTE-badged models (pictured at the end) will offer an undisclosed range in pure electric mode, which in the case of the outgoing Passat GTE stands at 31 miles (50 kilometers) based on the old (and hugely optimistic) NEDC testing cycle. We also get to learn the refreshed version of the once hugely popular Passat will boast “new drive, light, assist and Infotainment technologies and a new level of online services.”
These novelties will help VW reach an important sales milestone: 30 million. After 45 years on the market, the Passat has already been produced in more than 29 million examples worldwide over the course of its eight (and a half) generations and it’s only a matter of time before it will break the impressive sales barrier. It will be the first car in the segment to reach the milestone and will reinforce its position as VW’s second best-selling car of all time after the undisputed sales king – the Golf with 35 million cars delivered.
According to the press release attached below, “the countdown for the market launch of the next evolutionary stage of this product line will already start at the end of January 2019.” What that means is we are inching closer to the car’s official debut and we will probably see it in the metal at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
Meanwhile, the North American 2020 Passat will premiere at the Detroit Auto Show in mid-January, but we've driven it already.
Gallery: 2019 VW Passat GTE facelift spy photos
Bestselling mid-size model in the world: the Passat has stood for progress for 45 years
- With more than 29 million2 vehicles produced, the Passat is one of the most important models in the business class
- Together with the Beetle (21.5 million) and Golf (35 million), the Passat is one of the three most successful Volkswagen models
- At the end of January 2019, Volkswagen will start the countdown for the next evolutionary stage of the Passat
For 45 years the Passat has been on course for the future. Originally launched in 1973, it is now sold on every continent. Volkswagen has built more than 29 million Passat vehicles in eight generations so far. 2019 will see the start of a new evolutionary stage of the most successful mid-size car ever, as the Passat becomes the first in its segment to break through the barrier of 30 million units.