Let me tell you something about the 2014 Volkswagen Passat. Except for the Mazda 6, this is the most overlooked car in its class. For every four Honda Accords or Toyota Camrys that get parked in American driveways, Volkswagen sells one Passat, and having now spent a week driving a 2014 Passat SEL Premium with this car’s new standard turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, I can’t figure out why more people don’t choose the VW.
In advance of launching this version of the Passat for the 2012 model year, Volkswagen made a huge effort to improve upon the established midsize sedan recipe, designing this Passat specifically for American customers and building it in a brand new assembly plant in Tennessee. In total, the company spent $5 billion to create a Passat built by Americans specifically for Americans.
How has the target audience reacted? Every major competitor, except the Mazda 6, sells in greater numbers. In my opinion, there can be just one reason for this, and that reason must be the Passat’s average reliability ratings. To eliminate this as an obstacle to purchase, all Volkswagen needs to do is offer a better warranty, something along the lines of what Hyundai and Kia did when quality and reliability perceptions capped sales. Surely, if the Passat’s durability and dependability are equal to the competition, Volkswagen can afford to offer that extra peace of mind.