Volkswagen has this year climbed the sales charts to become the eighth best-selling fleet manufacturer and believes the new Passat will be the car which sees it overtake Fiat, Nissan and fifth placed Renault and start making inroads into Peugeot's position of number four.
While pricing and specification levels remain top secret there is no doubt the car will have to be priced squarely against its arch-rivals and will not be over-priced and under-specced. And with suggestions that its size could make it larger than the 406, hopes are high that it could win over user-choosers who in the past have driven executive sector cars.
At launch only a four-door model will be available powered by a mixture of new and existing engines. An estate model - which will account for 20% of sales - will follow in January as will performance models, but there will be no five-door models. The provisional launch date for the new Passat is November 15 with its public debut set for the International Motor Show in Birmingham. However, up to 1,500 fleet customers will be invited to drive the car at the fleet launch at Blenheim Palace in the first two weeks of October.