Speaking at the Chicago Auto Show, Johan de Nysschen, VW’s newly appointed COO, admitted that the Passat is likely not long for this world.

“The Passat is also a car that has a finite lifespan in terms of our planning,” said de Nysschen, speaking to media.

He was quick to add, though, that VW will discontinue the Passat tomorrow. There’s still a good reason to sell a midsize sedan in the near term.

“It’s still an important market segment for us, and we have a large and loyal customer base there that we would like to offer an entry to,” said de Nysschen.

According to Volkswagen’s own estimates, that segment will see about 1.2 million sales in 2021. That, by no means, makes it the largest segment, but it is certainly big enough for VW to want a slice of the pie.

The Passat was recently restyled and improved for the 2020 model year. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Passat is now larger and its features were improved for what was technically a generational shift, which should mean it has another six or seven years of life in it.

Exactly what may follow isn’t exactly clear yet, but de Nysschen did provide some hints.

“While no decision has been made, I would say that it’s a reasonable assumption that when this Passat reaches the end of its lifecycle, it’s successor will probably not feature an internal combustion engine,” he said.