New, more upmarket trim for VW's mid-sized option puts it in 3-series territory

Volkswagen is moving its Passat upmarket. Traditionally a rival for the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Vectra, VW is scrapping the car's SE trim level and introducing a new, richer, better-equipped and more expensive replacement called Highline, in the hope of poaching a few registrations from the BMW 3-series and Audi A4. The new Passat Highline comes as standard with heated front seats, full leather upholstery, a multifunction steering wheel and new 17in multispoke alloy wheels. Air conditioning, an eight-speaker stereo system and cruise control are also part of the deal, as are chrome window surrounds and body-coloured bumper strips.All this extra kit does comes at a premium, albeit not a large one. Passat Highline prices start at £18,890 (a £250 increase over the outgoing SE) for the 1.8-litre TSI saloon, rising to £20,990 for a DSG-equipped 2.0-litre diesel four-door.

Ian Tonkin

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8

13 February 2008

This market convergance is bad for business, it's like the Chinese population trying to fit into the UK, it doesn't work. There's too much competition in any one sector. The premium marques should stick upmarket and bugdet marques to the bugdet section, isn't this Passat gonna compete with Audi? this move just doesn't make business sense, The Mondeo's got it right!

13 February 2008

Yes Jaggie. Can't see anybody dithering between choosing a BMW or Audi and thinking the VW is also a purchase option. VW has to do with the Passat what they do with the Golf (and Ford did with the Mondeo) and thump out a powerful standard bearer for the sector that doesn't compete with the luxury brands but just makes them look a bit over-priced and pointless.

13 February 2008

[quote JJBoxster]

Yes Jaggie. Can't see anybody dithering between choosing a BMW or Audi and thinking the VW is also a purchase option. VW has to do with the Passat what they do with the Golf (and Ford did with the Mondeo) and thump out a powerful standard bearer for the sector that doesn't compete with the luxury brands but just makes them look a bit over-priced and pointless.

[/quote]

I'm going to disagree with JJ just for the sake of it.

Hope no-one minds.

14 February 2008

I don't mind Scummy, He really is a legend in his own lunchtime.

On to the Passat. I am all for people bettering themselves, but when the Passat becomes the new 3 series, where does BMW go? presumably more up market than they are now. On that basis people do not better themselves, as the car they are driving today becomes the car they are driving tomorrow!

Does anyone follow that?

14 February 2008

Interesting point Jon.

Here's my take on it. BMW have gone downmarket - the 1 and 3 series are costed versions of their bigger products produced in volume to maximise sales of an apparently premium product to the lowest common denominator in the market for an alleged premium product.

I would offer that BMW sell the lower end of their product range on the back of the premium nature of their bigger products.

VW don't really come into it. Guilt by association I would surmise - they are Germen therefore premium etc.

14 February 2008

[quote scummyplum]

Interesting point Jon.

Here's my take on it. BMW have gone downmarket - the 1 and 3 series are costed versions of their bigger products produced in volume to maximise sales of an apparently premium product to the lowest common denominator in the market for an alleged premium product.

I would offer that BMW sell the lower end of their product range on the back of the premium nature of their bigger products.

VW don't really come into it. Guilt by association I would surmise - they are Germen therefore premium etc.

[/quote]

Would agree with this. To be honest this is what has made me prejudiced against the whole BMW range - they may be good cars (some of them) but they can't call themselves exclusive any more as so many are sold and aren't so called premium brands supposed to be exclusive which is what made them premium in the first place?

15 February 2008

[quote SpecB]

Would agree with this. To be honest this is what has made me prejudiced against the whole BMW range - they may be good cars (some of them) but they can't call themselves exclusive any more as so many are sold and aren't so called premium brands supposed to be exclusive which is what made them premium in the first place?

[/quote]

Totally agree with you. Their are other brands now that do the exclusive thing better than BMW. Look at the Ford Focus, in comparison to the 3 series it is exclusive!

Then look at some of the Japanese brands, Subaru, Mitsubishi etc.

GD

16 February 2008

Where does all this hype about moving up marker come from? Mid-term in the Passat and Bora/Jetta lives VW intruduces a "Highline" model to keep sales going, nothing more.

GB

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