Volkswagen says it built its 30 millionth Passat at the start of April 2019, making the nameplate the best-selling mid-size vehicle in the world.

The milestone unit – a plug-in hybrid Passat GTE Variant finished in Pyrite Silver Metallic paint – was produced at VW’s Emden plant. The Wolfsburg-based automaker says the special vehicle will be used “as a press and test vehicle for the international media” over the coming months.

Of course, in February 2019, VW South Africa confirmed to CARmag.co.za the facelifted Passat would not be coming to our shores, with the outgoing model having since been removed from the German firm’s local website.

Production of the Passat started at VW’s Wolfsburg plant on 14 May 1973, with the original model playing the role of successor to the VW 1600. The nameplate has since outsold the Beetle (21,5 million units) and isn’t far behind the Golf (35 million units).

“The Passat is one of Volkswagen’s most important and most successful cars – since its launch 46 years ago, 30 million customers have had confidence in this Volkswagen vehicle,” said Ralf Brandstätter, chief operating officer at Volkswagen.

“As a result, the Passat has become one of the world’s greats; a car which today is as much at home in Beijing as it is in Berlin, Sydney, Johannesburg or on the streets of San Francisco. At Volkswagen we are proud of this successful model, which is still the benchmark within its class today.”