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Volkswagen Passat CC: A 4-Door Coupe, Or a Very Pretty Sedan?

High-Style 4-Door Aims to Show That VW’s Styling Mojo is Alive and Well
Volkswagen unveiled the Passat CC at NAIAS today, and it really is a looker. Long, low, and sleek, it aims to be a statement of cutting edge design: an artistic blending of cutting edge product design and everyday practicality. When it goes on sale later in the year, it will supplement the standard issue Passat sedan, giving the Passat lineup three unique bodystyles – sedan, wagon, and this third variant. In keeping with the car’s high-design message, VW’s product intro video showed it parked at the gorgeously minimalist Marmol Radziner modern pre-fab house near Palm Springs, a strong statement of practical yet avant-garde design.


Volkswagen refers to the car as a coupe, despite its four sedan doors. Does this all sound a bit familiar? It should, as Mercedes-Benz captivated hearts and minds just a few short years ago with a similar idea, the beautiful CLS.

A core difference between it and the CLS, of course, is pricing. While the CLS starts at nearly $70,000, the Passat CC is expected to sell at about half that price. The other fundamental difference, of course, is that the Passat CC is front wheel drive, while the CLS boasts rear wheel drive dynamics and visual proportions (the CC sports a short dash-to-axle and a long front overhang). They’re otherwise remarkably similar in execution with four comfortable seats, good rear legroom, frameless glass, a spacious trunk, but also poor rear ingress/egress and limited rear headroom.



Can Passat CC Expect Long Term Sales Success?
Many have wondered aloud whether the Mercedes-Benz CLS is a coupe, as Mercedes-Benz likes to call it, or a low-slung sedan. Industry analysts have long noted that coupe lifecycles generally follow a “boom-and-bust” pattern. In other words, as fashion items, they sell strongly at first but rapidly fall from grace within 18 months as they fall out of favor. In other words, most coupes don’t have staying power.

Though many would argue that CLS is really a sedan, its sales history betrays a familiar coupe story. It sold a healthy 15,000 units in its first year (2005), but by 2007 its sales had nearly halved. Given Passat CC’s similar product execution, we would expect it to behave similarly in the marketplace.
Sales Volumes Aren’t Everything, Though
Though Passat CC may not ultimately sell in huge volumes, it can still help stir up excitement for the VW brand. Many have criticized VW’s latest products as lacking the “cool” factor that its offerings from the late ‘90s undeniably had. This sleek 4-door definitely has style, helping to alleviate concerns that the brand that once represented a refreshing and innovative alternative had gone all mainstream, sort of like an automotive equivalent to Modest Mouse. This will be crucial to VW’s future success, as the brand needs to remember that people love the brand precisely because it’s not like everyone else. If Passat CC can help spread this message, then it will have done its job.


  • Mark| March 10, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    The Falling US Dollar, will surely make this car expensive. I think High 30s to mid 40s is a reasonable price for this car, 60 to 70 Us Dollars will price this car out of most people’s budgets, but I do like this New Passat. A Diesel version with a manual stick would be even better. The VW Phaeton from a few years ago was among the nicest cars I sat in at any car show.

  • Guy Gingras| February 22, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    When is possible order this Passat CC
    In Florida and the final price with
    full equipment? Have right now Passat 06
    and my lease is due for October 2008.
    This new Passat CC is very nice.

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