Would you pay $40,000 for a sedan from Volkswagen — or from Hyundai? Both automakers are betting that at least some consumers will part with Lexus- or BMW-type money for their latest creations. Aside from each having four doors, the cars are seemingly disparate: The Volkswagen Passat CC is a four-seater with coupe-like styling, while the Hyundai Genesis is a bigger, full-blown luxury sedan. For their respective brands, though, each car represents a gamble by going upmarket.
At Volkswagen’s straight-laced confines in Detroit’s Cobo Center, head spokesman Steve Keyes seemed upbeat about the Passat CC’s chances. It won’t be another Phaeton, he assured us, referring to a $65,000-plus juggernaut Volkswagen unleashed earlier this decade that was a resounding sales failure.
“This maybe should have been the car we had before the Phaeton,” Keyes said, adding that the Passat CC will start “in the mid- to high 20s.” The two examples at Volkswagen’s display were loaded to the gills with massive sunroofs and button-strewn dashboards, while press materials detailed high-tech features like lane-departure prevention systems, dynamically adjustable suspensions and even a self-parking feature. Keyes said the cost of a fully loaded Passat CC hasn’t yet been determined, but it will likely be much more than the regular Passat, which tops out around $40,000.
Volkswagen does sell one model in this price range — the Touareg — but it’s an SUV, not a premium sedan. This is definitely new territory for VW, Keyes said.