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Detroit 2011: US-spec Volkswagen Passat

While Ford globalises, Volkswagen is localising. America
swallows gazillions of big saloons every year, but VW’s Passat was always a
flop because it was too expensive and too small compared with the Toyota Camry
and Ford Taurus. So VW has made a special Passat for the US and China that it
reckons solves both issues.

The American Passat, which is saloon-only, has an all-new
body, as opposed to the heavy facelift Europeans and Brits have just been
Almost all its parts are different too, and the critical thing is they’re put
together at a new factory in Tennessee, from parts made out of American steel,
glass and plastic. This gives VW a huge currency advantage.

There are also a few signs that it’s been designed cheaper.
The finish isn’t quite as lush as our Euro Passat - though it’s not at all
shabby - and there aren’t so many high-tech options.

But most of all, there’s room for five well-upholstered
Americans in there.

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