Volkswagen has begun road testing the preproduction model of the NMS, the New Midsize Sedan, in preparation for its China release in the second quarter next year, sources from Shanghai say.
Developed by Shanghai Volkswagen and Volkswagen Passenger Cars, the NMS will be VW’s latest B-class sedan in China and North America. For the Chinese market, it will be built in Shanghai Volkswagen’s Nanjing factory, and for North American, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In both regions, Passat has been struggling against more popular rivals such as Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. It will not be built in or exported to Europe, where Passat prospers.
The NMS project was first announced in July 2007. Shanghai Volkswagen has been responsible for interior and exterior styling. The Chinese participation is expected to lower the car’s production cost and give it a younger, sleeker look than Passat–while not a smaller size. In North America, it will be priced around $20,000.
Currently, both of the last two generations of Passat , the B5 (Passat Lingyu) and B6 (Magotan), are on the Chinese new car market, built by Shanghai Volkswagen and FAW Volkswagen, respectively. For Shanghai Volkswagen, the NMS will be Passat B5’s successor.