Passat (the German One) Gets iF Gold

The internationally renowned iF Design Awards were presented last Friday in Munich, and the eighth-generation Volkswagen Passat took the gold in the “Automobile/Vehicles/Bikes” category.

The internationally renowned iF Design Awards were presented last Friday in Munich, and the eighth-generation Volkswagen Passat took the gold in the “Automobile/Vehicles/Bikes” category.

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Explaining the selection of the Passat, the award committee said, “Reinterpreting such a classic brand requires a great deal of sensitivity. We were fascinated by the consistency—in the sense of form follows function’—with which the pure and expressive design language has been applied throughout the whole concept, in both the interior and the exterior. The Volkswagen Passat unites minimalism with strong detailing. Practical use is combined with the highest level of elegance.”

The award was accepted by Klaus Bischoff, head of Volkswagen Design. (It is interesting to note the consistency with which that design aesthetic has been maintained by Bischoff and his team, as can be seen in this piece from 2008.)

What’s somewhat ironic about this award is that for model year 2012, Volkswagen decided, for a variety of reasons, that they needed to have a Passat for the U.S. What’s more, the company even built a factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to produce the U.S. Passat. The underlying idea was that they needed a “Camry fighter.”

So out came the 2012 Passat, which was different than the model on offer in Germany and elsewhere, although it was made available in other markets, like South Korea, too.

The 2012 Passat did well, initially, even being named the Motor Trend Car of the Year.

But it never really became a Camry fighter of any magnitude.

According to Autodata, last year Volkswagen of America delivered 96,649 Passats. Toyota delivered 428,606 Camrys. In fact, Autodata numbers show that the entire Volkswagen division delivered 366,970 vehicles in 2014, or 61,636 fewer vehicles than the number of Camrys alone.

Maybe they should have stuck with the German version.