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Volkswagen debuts bigger, cheaper, greener 2012 Passat

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat, a close sibling of the resigned Jetta in 2011 but larger and with a substantially lower price than last year’s model, was unveiled at the Detroit auto show.

The vast changes will include a transfer of manufacturing locations to the new U.S. VW plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The new Passat is VW’s latest attempt to infiltrate the former dominance in the midsize family sedan market shared by the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

In addition to its U.S. production, Volkswagen has dropped the Passat’s starting prices to around $20,000, about $7,000 less than the previous model.

According a report in USA Today:

“VW says it hasn’t cheapened the car for the lower price, and hopes to avoid the criticism it took that it backslid on features and tech. Instead, building Passat at its new factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., and buying parts from U.S.-based sources cuts the costs enough to allow the drastic price reduction.”Volkswagen debuts bigger, cheaper, greener 2012 Passat 1

The Passst’s engine options have also changed. Previously, the Passat had a 2.0-liter TSI engine. Now there are three options: a 2.5-liter engine that produces 170 horsepower, a 3.6-liter engine with 280 horsepower and a 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel engine. The wheelbase has also been extended from 187.6 to 191.7 inches.

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