Volkswagen is on an upward march in the sales game, and it’s riding predominantly on the back of the new Passat and Jetta sedans. The good news for the Passat: Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant has built its 50,000th unit.
VW announced late Tuesday that it built the 50,000th 2012 Passat, an optioned-out SE model with the 2.5-liter, 170-horsepower inline-five engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. It took VW just over eight months to reach that number: the plant officially opened on May 24, 2011, and the 50,000th car rolled off the Tennessee production line this week.
We should note that this doesn’t mean that VW has sold 50,000 2012 Passats yet: the figure includes various cars that haven’t yet been sold, including training cars and testers, dealer courtesy cars, and cars that were exported to other markets. At last count, Volkswagen had sold 29,097 of the new-for-2012 Passat sedans in the United States and 1961 in Canada, which means roughly 19,000 cars were either sold outside of the U.S. and Canada, or are on dealer lots/in special fleets. VW’s estimated inventory stands at about a 70-day supply.
It’s certainly a good sign for the Passat, who has already eclipsed two of its competitors in the mid-size sales war. It’s averaging between 6000 and 7000 units per month over the past three months, enough to beat competition from Mazda and Dodge.
In hopes of continuing the upward movement, VW has already announced expansions of the Chattanooga, Tennessee plant that builds the car: the automaker said it would add 200 jobs to the plant, which currently employs 2500 people.