By on August 6, 2010

Just how American is the new Volkswagen Jetta? When a German car company comes out with a new car, they usually release it in Germany first, so the Teutonic car bible Auto Motor und Sport can run a big multi-page review in the front of the magazine. Not only was the 2011 Jetta launched in the US, but the latest issue of AM und S carried only a half-page mini-review. In the final paragraph, the buff book explains that smaller gas engines and a variety of diesels should be available for Germany, and that

Here [in Germany], the comfortable Jetta will get a higher-quality appointments/equipment (hochwertigere Ausstattung) as well as a multi-link rear suspension.

The hochwertigere Ausstattung line is (purposefully?) vague, and could mean that the German-market Jetta will get a better-quality interior (as implied by the caption “US version with hard plastic and simple instruments”) or that it will simply come with a higher equipment level. In any case, don’t expect the German market to be thrilled by the version that we drove. Or that VW’s “Das Auto” tagline means much of anything to our Mexican-built Jetta.

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13 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Das Auto (Auf Deutsch) Edition...”

  • avatar

    So, it’s the same deal as the Euro Ford Focus vs. the US Ford Focus. The US market just isn’t willing to pay for a premium small car. So, they decontent it down to a price point Americans’ are more comfortable with.

    You can’t blame them for selling us what we want.

    • 0 avatar

      Except for next year, the US Focus and the Euro Focus will be the same car. By bringing in the Fiesta to occupy the old Focus’s price point, Ford can push the price point up and bring the new Euro Focus over for the most point unchanged. Then the Fusion merges with the Euro Mondeo the next year, pushing that price point up a bit and giving the Focus room to breathe.

    • 0 avatar


      Yes, but we’ll have to wait and see if that strategy works – it hasn’t in the past (see: Ford Contour).

    • 0 avatar

      I think this time around, the US market will be more readily accepting of efficient, relatively compact cars. I’m not sure about market trends in Europe and whether or not they’re moving towards relatively larger, but still efficient cars.

      Wasn’t the first generation US focus basically the same as the US version, with the exception of a few tweaks?

    • 0 avatar

      “Wasn’t the first generation US focus basically the same as the euro version, with the exception of a few tweaks?”

      On paper yes – but only in the same way Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks both sell coffee!

  • avatar

    VW’s Sebring.

  • avatar

    This is just sad. The US market versions have always had fewer option choices, but the previous Jettas didn’t have cheap-assed interiors.

    • 0 avatar

      The previous Jettas also weren’t aimed at this low a price point, either. Hopefully the decontenting will rid VW of some of the reliability gremlins that keep people out of them.

  • avatar


    Not to worry, still Import > Detroit garbage. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuureeeeee

  • avatar

    You guys should have more intently studied the launch literature provided at the San Francisco launch.

    VW reps that I spoke to were on hand were all too eager to CLEARLY state that the US-spec GLI vehicle WILL be receiving the European higher quality soft-touch interior, the higher-end gauge cluster with full MFA, the 4-link rear suspension, as well as the wiring harness to deal with VW’s high-end RNS-510 Navigation unit from the current Golf/CC.

    Obviously, it will also have the direct injected 2.0TFSI, this time with changes made from the latest itineration found in the new Audi A4’s unit. It is also worth noting that the 2.5 has also been substantially updated to be both sound and perform in a more refined manner.

    There you go.

  • avatar

    VW has been decontenting their cars now for years. The company line is that the VW’s were taking too long on the line to finish and they wanted to scale back on the build time.
    (Hint..leave the content alone and cut down the Siesta time at the Mexican factory)

    So, great, Das Auto’s are now rolling along the line at a merry pace, with just enough content with a high pressure salesman yapping at you in the showroom amd a brief test drive .

    VW in their company statements has avoided mentioning things like “improved quality control, big budget R&D projects behind the new power trains, consumers reviews about what we actually want in our N.A. cars, increased warranty, or any mention of the fierce MPG competion in the small to mid size cars these days”.

    Roll out a new VW with a Hyundai type warranty and we’ll know then that VW is finally getting serious about selling cars in N.A. Till then, the Koreans are going to make Kimchi out of your Sauerkraut.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    Well, given that the VW jetta sells in relatively homeopathic doses in Europe it will not make much difference either way – the volume for that model always came from the US. I remember many a VW dealer who would actively try to dissuade customers from buying one, Piech’s grand plans of making the Bora (Golf Mk4 based one) a BMW 3 series competitor by offering 16 inch rims as standard nonwithstanding.

    And given that the better interior, multilink rear suspension already exists for the top of the range US models, the whole approach kind of works (Toyota does the same with the Corolla family – top of the line EU diesels and JDM V6 versions get the multilink, the rest a torsion beam).

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