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Volkswagen pushes back expected 2018 launch of next U.S.-built Passat

The North American-spec, Chattanooga, Tennessee-built Volkswagen Passat will stick around for longer than expected, according to a recent report.

Volkswagen was expected to introduce a brand new Passat for the North American market in 2018. However, its launch date has been pushed back to coincide with the introduction of the next-generation European-spec Passat, according to VW Vortex. The delay will allow the model sold on our shores to switch to the modular MQB platform, a move that will make it much lighter than the current model (pictured).

While the two versions of the Passat will go on sale at about the same time, Volkswagen reportedly stressed that it will continue to offer two completely different cars with the same name. That means the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company still isn’t planning on selling the European Passat on our shores.

“It’s not going to be a Euro Passat. It’s going to be designed in America, for America,” affirmed an anonymous inside source who spoke to VW Vortex. The comments seemingly confirm that Volkswagen is gradually giving its North American division more independence.

The base Passat will carry on with a four-cylinder engine, but whether it will again offer a six-cylinder is up the air at this point. Volkswagen could choose to surf the downsizing wave that’s sweeping across the auto industry and give the V6-powered Passat the proverbial ax. And, in light of the company’s shift toward electrification, we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the next-generation Passat is available with a fuel-sipping plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

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A time frame for when the next-generation Passat will arrive wasn’t given. The Euro-spec model was introduced at the 2014 edition of the Paris Auto Show, so it’s not expected to get a significant redesign until 2019 at the earliest. If that’s accurate, we could see a brand new Passat arrive in U.S. showrooms in time for the 2020 model year.