Volkswagen Passat sedan axed in Australia for private buyers, but wagon safe

Volkswagen’s staple four-door sedan has departed Australia for buyers without law enforcement badges in their pockets – though the stronger-selling wagon will remain on sale.

Volkswagen Australia has ceased production of the 2022 Volkswagen Passat sedan for private buyers, with the four-door to be limited to police fleets only – but the five-door wagon will live on for all buyers.

Following the news of the Passat sedan’s axing in Europe, a Volkswagen Australia spokesperson confirmed to Drive the model is no longer available for order by private buyers – with the 24 vehicles listed in stock (as of publishing) on the company’s website likely the last remaining examples to be sold to the public.

The Passat sedan will continue to be sold to police services – with Volkswagen Australia to honour its contracts with police forces in New South Wales and Victoria – in specific Proline specification, with upgraded electrical components to support police equipment, including lights and sirens.

While the sedan may be going away, the Passat wagon and Alltrack will remain available for private buyers.

Despite shrinking wagon sales across the broader market, the long-roof Passat accounts for as much as 80 per cent of sales to private buyers – a high percentage of which are accounted for by the performance-oriented 206TSI R-Line variant.

All rumours suggest a next-generation ‘B9’ Passat is on track for a 2023 launch, twinned with the next Skoda Superb. However, it’s not clear if a new sedan will be offered, or if the B9 Passat will go wagon-only – suggesting the axing of the current ‘B8’ Passat sedan from Australia could represent the end of the line.

Volkswagen buyers looking for a mid-size, sedan-shaped vehicle will be directed to the similarly-sized (but five-door) Arteon liftback, recently treated to a facelift and a new, entry-level 140TSI Elegance variant to sit below the 206TSI R-Line – which becomes Volkswagen’s most affordable sedan or liftback available to private buyers.

While the Arteon 140TSI Elegance and entry Passat 140TSI Business are similar in size and performance, there’s a near-$15,000 price difference between the two – meaning the price of the cheapest Volkswagen sedan/liftback (for private buyers) increases from $48,990 to $61,740 before on-road costs.

The base Arteon’s level of standard equipment is more akin to the mid-spec $53,990 Passat 162TSI Elegance, which also gains a more potent 162kW/350Nm version (up from 140kW/320Nm) of the 140TSI duo’s 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder.

VFACTS industry new-car sales data reports 948 examples of the Volkswagen Passat as sold in 2021, across sedan and wagon body styles (excluding Alltrack) – an increase of 66.9 per cent over 2020 sales (in a segment up 3.8 per cent overall) thanks to the arrival of a number of key variants previously not available, following production delays.

However, it’s less than a third of the 3090 Passat sedan and wagons sold in Australia in 2016. Over the same period, Mazda 6 sales have fallen by a similar percentage, as have Hyundai Sonata sales – though Skoda Octavia and Superb sales have held steady (excluding stock shortage-affected 2021).

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