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China’s Love Affair with Sedans: Volkswagen Introduces the Passat Pro

Sedan popularity is on the decline
Yet, China remains an exception
Volkswagen makes an unexpected move

Volkswagen’s new Passat Pro

Recently, the preference for sedans in countries worldwide, including South Korea, appears to have declined. While luxury and compact sedans still have a solid consumer base, the preference for SUVs has increased. Hence, manufacturers aren’t as invested in launching new sedans as before.

Despite this trend, there’s a market where sedan cars are still actively purchased. That’s the Chinese market. China still has a high demand for large and luxury sedans. Consequently, various manufacturers are launching China-specific models and focusing on sedans to differentiate themselves in this market. A German carmaker, Volkswagen, is also launching a new model for the Chinese market.

The soon-to-be-released Passat Pro
The European Passat Variant

The appearance of the China-exclusive Passat
What’s the difference from the European model?

Volkswagen’s Passat Pro is set to launch in China in the third quarter of 2024. The design of this vehicle has been revealed ahead of its official debut. The Passat Pro, a new model exclusive to the Chinese market, has a design similar to the regular Passat model sold in Europe. However, the differences become more apparent towards the rear, making it easy to distinguish.

The new Passat Pro is about 89mm (around 3.5 inches) longer than the Passat Variant, with a length of 5,006mm (about 197 inches), a width of 1,850mm (about 73 inches), and a height of 1,489mm (about 59 inches). The powertrain features two 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter gasoline engines, offering 158 and 217 horsepower outputs, respectively.

The popularity of the China-exclusive Magotan
The interior is expected to resemble the Magotan.

The Passat Pro isn’t Volkswagen’s only China-exclusive model. The sedan Magotan, developed in collaboration with China’s FAW and Volkswagen, is quite famous locally. Notably, it uses the same MQB EVO platform as European manufacturer Skoda.

Therefore, it’s not incorrect to say that the Magotan has influenced the upcoming Passat Pro. Although interior photos haven’t been released yet, many expect the new Passat Pro’s interior will maintain the current Magotan’s 12.9-inch infotainment touchscreen, suggesting the two models won’t differ significantly.

BMW’s China-specific electric sedan i3.

There are many China-specific models
Regret over country-specific models

In Europe, hatchbacks are popular, while in the U.S., consumers prefer pickup trucks and SUVs. However, there’s a preference for sedans in China, prompting manufacturers, including Volkswagen, to launch China-targeted exclusive models. A prime example is BMW’s i3 sedan, exclusive to the Chinese market.

Meanwhile, sedan lovers in countries other than China express disappointment over manufacturers launching China-export exclusive models. Even though these decisions are strategic, car enthusiasts who wish to see a wider variety of models in various countries can’t help but feel a certain degree of understanding of their sentiment.

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