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Volkswagen discontinues Passat, Arteon, Golf wagon in Australian range simplification


Sixty years of Volkswagen estates come to a close as the brand discontinues sedans and wagons locally citing complexity, cost and and changing buyer choices

Citing a desire to reduce overall complexity and operating costs, Volkswagen Australia this week announced a decision to discontinue its entire Passat sedan and wagon range, its entire Arteon liftback and wagon range, and station wagon models of the Golf small car with immediate effect.

For the Passat in particular, the decision marks the end of an era for Volkswagen sedans and wagons in Australia, with the nameplate stretching back to the locally-produced two-door Passat sedan of 1974.

Volkswagen Passat 206TSI R-Line 2021 rear 3/4 driving 2
The Passat first featured in Volkswagen’s local lineup inthe 1970s, when it weas built locally

The Arteon, a more emotionally-penned adaptation of the Passat sedan, was introduced in 2017 and spawned a wagon version in 2021.

The change means that Volkswagen will be left without any sedan model for the first time since the 1970s and without a wagon in its Australian range since the 1500 Type 3 of 1963 – a long 60-year run for the VW estate car.

Skoda Superb Sportline 2022 WA police car-2
Sister brand Skoda will continue to offer sedans and wagons, to private customers and fleets. Pictured: Skoda Superb

In recent years, Volkswagen Australia supplied New South Wales and Victoria with Passat sedans and wagons for emergency services duties.

Chasing Cars understands that Volkswagen Group Australia intends to transition police fleet customers to the Skoda Superb range in future.

Volkswagen Golf R wagon 2022 cruise
The Golf R was a particular favourite of ours, but it made up just 10 percent of customer orders

Chasing Cars understands that existing orders for the vehicles will be delivered, with the exception of Golf R wagon deposits placed after Volkswagen Australia officially paused Golf orders in December 2022 – though R wagon orders placed before that time will indeed be produced and delivered to their buyers.

So far in 2023, Volkswagen has delivered 412 examples of the Passat to Australian customers and 395 Arteon units. For the entirety of 2022 the results were 759 and 612 respectively – or about 63 and 51 per month apiece.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace lineup
In recent years, Volkswagen has met shifting customer preferences with a range of SUVs – including Tiguan

Chasing Cars understands that these volumes are approaching a level where they are too low to justify the whole-of-business spend on retaining separate models.

Volkswagen Australia managing director Michal Szaniecki said “it’s complexity for consumers, complexity for our dealers, complexity for us – when you have such an expansive portfolio it gets more expensive for our customers, and much more confusing.

Volkswagen Arteon R-line 2022 side driving
The racy Arteon is being discontinued not just locally, but globally, as Volkswagen cuts model lines

Szaniecki said that by reducing the number of models it sells in Australia, Volkswagen will request higher numbers of SUV models – which should marginally reduce the price to Australian buyers due to scale effects.

In the Golf lineup, the three wagon versions offered – the base 110TSI ($37,990 before on-road costs), the mid-spec Life ($40,590) and the flagship R ($71,990) – accounted for around a tenth of sales – accounting for about 320 deliveries last year.

Volkswagen Touareg 210TDI R-Line 2022 rear 3/4
Volkswagen executives say the brand is successfully migrating customers to the SUV lineup. Pictured: Touareg

Australian buyers have largely migrated from sedan and station wagon offerings to SUVs of various sizes and Volkswagen has unashamedly embraced this shift. In the first half of 2023, it delivered 3042 T-Cross and 4420 T-Roc small SUVs, 6376 Tiguan midsize SUVs, and 570 Touareg large luxury SUVs.

That said, Volkswagen boss Szaniecki did not rule out offering niche models in Australia in future if the business case supported them being sold locally.