GERMANY: Volkswagen delays Europe's next Passat
The current Volkswagen Passat for European markets, launched in 2005, will not be replaced until "late 2014 or early 2015", a company insider has told just-auto.com.
The next generation model, which will use the group's MQB platform, had been expected later this year but its public premiere is now thought to have been delayed until the Paris motor show in September 2014.
Several factors are thought to be behind the decision to give the current generation car a nine-year lifecycle. These range from the obvious cost savings for R&D, production, marketing and so on, to the fact that the car's main rivals are themselves somewhat less than fresh. The obvious example is the Ford Mondeo, which will not be replaced in Europe until late 2014.
No model in the D segment is an especially strong seller but the Passat has held up well, despite its age, in particular the wagon bodystyle, which still performs well in Germany and the UK.
Volkswagen, like many of its rivals, has no direct competitor for the Nissan Qashqai, a model which alone has been responsible for a surge in C-crossover sales at the expense of larger family cars. In that context, choosing not to match some rivals' five-, six- or seven-year lifecycles may even be a smart move, if no major increase in D-sedan and D-wagon sales can be envisaged with a new car.
Opel and Vauxhall may well gain the most from any delay in replacing the Passat, with a major facelift for the Insignia due to appear at this September's Frankfurt motor show.
The Peugeot 508 is also scheduled for a refresh within the next 12 months but archrival Renault's next generation Laguna is not expected until either late 2014 or possibly early 2015. Toyota's third generation Avensis may come before then, with some sources stating that it could well appear as soon as early 2014 - the current car will soon be five years old and had its mid-cycle update in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Author: Glenn Brooks