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Volkswagen idles Passat assembly line amid slow sales

by Ronan Glon

The good news is a brand-new Passat is right around the corner.

Volkswagen will stop building the Passat in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory for two weeks this spring, the company has confirmed. It made the decision in the wake of slow sales.

"It's not a secret the market is shifting from sedans and passenger cars to family-friendly SUVs. It allows us to correct course a bit," plant spokesman Keith King told Times Free Press.

The plant will go idle between March 26th and 29th, and again between April 2nd and 5th. Parts of the facility will remain open, though. King added Volkswagen will take advantage of the down time to train employees and retool to boost output of the Atlas SUV.

Times Free Press added Volkswagen sold 3,036 examples of the American-built Passat last month, a 50-percent drop compared to February of 2017. To add context, 4,766 examples of the Atlas found a home during the same time period.

Volkswagen remains committed to the segment. It will introduce an all-new Passat before the end of the year. The model will again be tailored to American tastes, and it will be built in Chattanooga, but it will ride on the company's modular MQB platform. We expect sales will begin during the 2019 model year.

Note: 2018 Volkswagen Passat GT pictured. Photography by Ronan Glon.