published Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

A lot of flash: VW introduces Passat Performance concept car

Volkswagen rolled out a Passat Performance concept car at the Detroit auto show Tuesday. The sportiest of Passats would be made in Chattanooga if officials give it the OK.
Staff photo by Mike Pare
Volkswagen rolled out a Passat Performance concept car at the Detroit auto show Tuesday. The sportiest of Passats would be made in Chattanooga if officials give it the OK. Staff photo by Mike Pare
PASSAT PERFORMANCE

• 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower

• Six-speed automatic transmission

• Dual exhaust

• 19-inch alloy wheels

• Bi-xenon headlights

• LED taillights

• Carbon-style detailing inside and out

Source: Volkswagen

DETROIT — The sportiest, and some might say flashiest member of the Volkswagen Passat family soon could arrive at a nearby dealer with a made-in-Chattanooga badge.

The Passat Performance concept, boasting a new-to-America turbocharged engine and more robust styling and driving features, was rolled out here at the North American International Auto Show.

Frank Fischer, chief executive for VW's Chattanooga operations, said that if the concept is given approval, assembly will take place at the automaker's plant in Chattanooga.

"Any derivative of the Passat always will be made in Chattanooga," he said.

Top VW officials are weighing the reception the Passat earns at the auto show before giving the sports sedan the go-ahead, Fischer said.

"We'll see what the reaction is," he said. "A decision will be made later."

Jonathan Browning, VW Group of America's CEO, said the concept produces both better performance and fuel efficiency than the 170 horsepower, five-cylinder engine.

The Passat Performance power plant is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that delivers 250 horsepower. This engine already is available in VWs in the European and Asian markets, according to the automaker.

"The engine is built in Mexico," Browning said.

Inside the car, carbon-like touches dominate the dashboard. Two-color leather seats complement the car's black headliner and side pillars. It also would feature a lowered sport suspension and electro-mechanical steering to enhance handling, according to VW.

While pricing wasn't revealed, it likely would be one of the most expensive Passats in the sedan's line-up.

Sales of the beefed-up Passat are not seen as generating huge numbers, but it would add to the Passat production level that hit 152,500 units in 2012, according to Fischer.

Also at the auto show, the carmaker showed off sportier versions of its Tiguan and Touareg sport utility vehicles.

The Tiguan R-Line and Touareg R-Line will be added to the VW line-up for model year 2014. Pricing is to be announced closer to launch.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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