Volkswagen's new Chattanooga-made Passat will be a first-in-its class sedan featuring German engineering but targeted at American motorists, according to the automaker.
The car is the biggest Passat that VW has ever made, has the most rear legroom in its segment and more cupholders, along with premium features and handling characteristics, VW officials says.
The vehicle will come in eight exterior colors, though the company hasn't announced those yet.
With three engines, including the most powerful 3.6 liter VR6 with 280 horsepower, the company boasts the new Passat as "a top-flight sport sedan." One version will feature a dual-clutch transmission which the company terms the most efficient worldwide.
The new Passat's safety features include an advanced intelligent crash response system, which initiates automatic safety protections. In a collision, the fuel supply and high-consumption electronic equipment shuts off, the doors unlock and the battery terminal disconnects from the alternator cable.
The car also comes with a tire pressure monitoring system and six air bags.
The Passat will offer three trim levels, the S, SE and SEL with a total of 16 equipment levels.
Standard features include automatic climate control, power windows, air-conditioning, insulating glass and a distinctive analog clock at the center of the instrument panel.
Premium options include 17- and 18-inch wheels, power seat adjustment, leather and a touchscreen satellite radio along with navigation systems.
With a base price of about $20,000, the new Passat will cost thousands less than its predecessor. Other pricing is expected to be announced later.
The car was rolled out at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last week.
Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen's chief executive, said the automaker's Chattanooga plant is a key part of its strategy in North America to grow sales as the company invests billions of dollars in the region.
The $1 billion Chattanooga plant is slated to ramp up production of the sedan within the next three months, igniting a new era for the auto company in the United States. VW's expectations are high.
"Every car you build, you have your fingerprints on," Don Jackson, president of manufacturing for VW in Chattanooga, recently told company employees. "You are building a world-class car every day."
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Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...