Why doesn’t the U.S. get the 2016 Volkswagen Passat GTE?

By Product Expert | Posted in FAQ, VW Passat on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 at 10:56 pm
2016 Volkswagen Passat GTE European release

2016 Volkswagen Passat GTE European release

We’re all well into adulthood here at Volkswagen of Springfield, and yet the urge to yell, “That’s not fair!” still seems to come about a few times a year. Why should other automotive markets get vehicles that we don’t get? There are actually multiple reasons for this, and the 2016 Volkswagen Passat GTE European release has raised the question once again.

Why isn’t the 2016 VW Passat GTE being released in America?Euro spec 2016 VW Passat GTE

One of the major reason we won’t be seeing the 2016 VW Passat GTE, which marks the second European plug-in hybrid for Europe, is simply an issues of regulations. You might think a model that is more efficient would be simpler to get into the market, but the fact is things are just different in North America than they are in Europe or even the Asian marketplace. The Passat GTE is expected to make its way to Asian countries because regulations are similar to European ones. The adjustment is just less costly for an automaker.

New for 2016: Volkswagen Passat new design and features

Another reason we won’t be seeing it is because VW is likely hesitant to release a model without any assurance that it will do well in our market. The e-Golf hasn’t been doing poorly, but Volkswagen has also only released it to coastal states where there are more charging stations.

2016 VW Passat GTE CabinJust the facts: 2016 Volkswagen Passat GTE

The Passat GTE is the third GTE we’ve been hearing wind of. The C Coupe was shown with a release set for Shanghai, and the Golf GTE was released as a 2015 model year in Europe. It’s clear Volkswagen is making more hybrid models, and the reasons for it are equally obvious. Fuel economy is impressive, with estimates as high as 147 combined mpg rating. This is better than the fuel economy ratings for the e-Golf, which sit at 126 city and 105 highway MPGe rating. Horsepower also combines between the 1.4-liter engine and 85kW electric to provide a total output of 215 horsepower and 295 pound feet of torque.

With impressive numbers like these, is there any downside to the 2016 Volkswagen Passat GTE? One is the pricing, which is €44,250, or $48,512 U.S. dollars. If VW did release an America version, it would be unlikely to come in at this price point because the base model in Europe includes what we typically consider unnecessary features, like driver assistance functions and LED headlights. Still, we can’t imagine the price coming down to match the e-Golf, and we already know expensive hybrids don’t sell well, from our experience with the 2015 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid.

Are plug-in hybrids the future of Volkswagen? At this point it’s hard to tell, but the automaker is certainly testing the waters. Should we hear news of a model coming to America, we’ll be sure to post updates here at the Volkswagen of Springfield Blog. Check back frequently for news on this and other models.