WOLFSBURG -- Volkswagen Group confirmed it will transfer production of the Passat to a Skoda plant in the Czech Republic from Germany.
VW's factory in Emden, Germany, currently builds the Passat for European markets. Shifting production to Skoda's plant in Kvasiny, Czech Republic, will free capacity in Emden for models from VW's new I.D. family of full-electric cars.
The Passat will be built alongside the Skoda Superb starting in 2023, VW CEO Herbert Diess said at a press event here on Friday, confirming an earlier report in the Handelsblatt newspaper.
Besides the Superb, the Kvasiny factory builds the Karoq and Kodiaq, and Seat Ateca SUVs.
Karoq and Ateca production will be transferred to a new multi-brand plant, VW said. The group is looking for a location for the factory in eastern Europe, the automaker said.
The Passat has kept its spot as Europe's top-selling mass-market midsize car, although sales fell 5.6 percent to 127,325 in the first nine months, according to JATO Dynamics market researchers. The Superb was No. 2, with sales falling 8.4 percent to 56,399.
Sales of midsize cars have been hit hard by a customer shift to SUVs and crossovers and a slump in sales of diesel models.
Diess said Emden will build electric small cars and sedans for various group brands without naming the models. German press reports said the factory will produce an entry level battery-powered car priced below 20,000 euros, along with a midsized EV to be called I.D. Aero.