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The next Volkswagen Passat could be electric

After the current Passat goes away, its successor likely won't be gas-powered.

The Passat received a mild refresh in late 2019.
Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

The Passat is one of Volkswagen's longest-running nameplates in the US. Yet the most recent version of this midsize sedan is, well, maybe not the company's best effort. And with VW focusing firmly on SUVs and electric vehicles, where does that leave the slow-selling Passat?

"[The] Passat is a car that has a finite lifespan in terms of our planning," Johan de Nysschen, Volkswagen of America's chief operating officer, told Roadshow on Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show. Given the fact that Volkswagen only moved 14,123 Passats in the US in 2019, this doesn't seem like a bad decision.

But what comes after the current Passat? "It's probably a reasonable assumption that when this Passat reaches the end of its lifecycle, its successor will probably not feature an internal combustion engine," de Nysschen said.

Now playing: Watch this: 2020 Volkswagen Passat gets a slight refresh at the Detroit...

Volkswagen has said it will likely build a production version of the ID Vizzion sedan concept, so this could make sense as a Passat replacement.

We think Volkswagen should just call this new EV the Pazzat -- since VW really seems to love that double-Z nomenclature for its electric concepts. When we told de Nysschen this, he chuckled and agreed, though admits he "has a preference for weird alphanumerics."