The 2012 Volkswagen Passat is facing a kind of perfect storm of skepticism from long-time fans of the brand. Volkswagen has wasted no chance to tell the world that the company's newest sedan will be custom-tailored to the American market, with styling and packaging tweaks designed to set the vehicle apart from its European counterpart. If that weren't enough, the new North American Passat will also carry the distinction of being the first VW product to be built at the automaker's brand-new assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
VW fans have always embraced the German flavor of their vehicles, but as the company pushes toward its (massively ambitious) goal of selling 800,000 units per year by 2018, we can expect to see more market-specific products in our neck of the woods. That trend kicked off with the 2011 Jetta – a vehicle that sacrificed interior materials and suspension refinement to meet a lower price point while growing larger to accommodate American tastes.
WHAT’S NEW — 2012 VW Passat: All-new for 2012, the VW Passat offers a more spacious cabin but keeps the luxurious interior and affordable German engineering that car shoppers expect from Volkswagen. The mid-size sedan, which debuted at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, will be built in America at VW’s new Chattanooga assembly plant. New features include a TDI Clean Diesel engine option, an Integrated Crash Response System (ICRS), available remote start and, on certain models, the available Fender Premium Audio System – a nine-speaker sound system that gives you the power to share your favorite song with just about everyone in the neighborhood. Or at the stop light.
Two Russian tuning firms and a German company have teamed up to offer a new kit for the 2011 BMW 5-Series F10. TopCar and Cardi, from Russia, and Lumma Design have joined forces to create an aggressive styling package which will likely boost performance.