By on October 27, 2010

Notice a difference between these two pictures? No, not the fact that one is a sexy press shot and the other is a bush-league amateur snap. Both pictures show the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, but one of them has a torsion beam rear axle, the other has a variation of the Golf’s multilink setup. One has a 2.5 liter blunt instrument of an engine and a slushbox, the other has a high-tech “twincharger” engine that won the International Engine Of The Year award two years running, mated to a dual-clutch ‘box. One has a nasty, plasticky interior, the other offers “higher quality materials and trim.” By now you’ve probably guessed that the less desirable of these two Jettas is the US version, and the fancy-pants version has just been announced for the European market…

So, how much extra are the continentals paying for their technology-laden versions? Autocar says the Euro-fun starts at £17,000, which given the current exchange rate would approximate close to $27,000. And that’s for a 100 horsepower version of that technically impressive, turbo- and supercharged engine. America’s 115 hp base model (featuring the ancient “two point slow” engine and rear drum brakes) starts just under $16k. Now, these numbers aren’t directly comparable for a number of boring reasons, including purchasing power, tax structures, and more. Still, for fans who know what Volkswagen is capable of engineering, this has got to be one of the most frustrating comparisons ever.

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69 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Two Jettas, No Choice Edition...”


  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    since you compare to British pounds, consider that the UK has some of the most expensive cars in Europe. Maybe compare to Italian/French/German prices without sales tax (can’t blame tax on VW)
     
    I thought the 2.0 had 115 hp. Has always had. the 1990s German cars had 1.6 l (75hp)), 1.8 l (90 hp) and 2.0 (115 hp) throughout several manufacturers.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      Only the TBI 1.8′s were rated at 90 hp. The port injected (Digifant 2) variants as seen in the last iterations of the A2 Golf/Jetta and GTI made 100 and 105 hp respectively.

      Not that that affects your point in any way, but it’s rare that I can use my knowledge of 20 year-old econoboxes.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      good memory. those hp/displacement ratios were the same for Opel at the time too.
       
      The good old times when a 1.2 liter / 45 hp Opel corsa seemed powerful enough to drive on the Autobahn.
       
      While the Japanese (and Koreans) already had 4-valve and multi-point injection and therefore had smaller displacement, the Germans claimed their older 2-valve design is better because “no replacement for displacement”. Funny how (in Europe at least) VW now has learned to love the small displacements at high hp.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    And now I ask VW; “Precisely what reason do you have for existing in the US other than the glorification of Piech’s & Winterkorn’s egos?”  Your buyers might as well go get a Camry.

  • avatar
    JKC

    Gee… building crappy plasticky Rabbits worked out so well for VW in the 80′s. Can’t see how it would fail now.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Autocarsays the Euro-fun starts at £17,000, which given the current exchange rate would approximate close to $27,000.
    In reality, depending on the exchange rate, you can usually make a 1:1 conversion of pounds to dollars when it comes to car prices.  A car that sells for £20k in Britain will sell for $20k in the US.  So, the Euro Jetta is probably about $1500 to maybe $2,500 more than the US version.

    Personally I always thought VW had a perfectly viable business model selling premium versions of the fit/civic/accord yaris/corolla/camry in the form of the golf, jetta and passat. The poor sales were the result of poor reliability scores not a pure pricing problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Personally I always thought VW had a perfectly viable business model selling premium versions of the fit/civic/accord yaris/corolla/camry in the form of the golf, jetta and passat. The poor sales were the result of poor reliability scores not a pure pricing problem.
       
      Abso-freaking-loutely.  That was VWs game.  Sell cars that handle pretty well with Audi-ish interiors for a slight price premium.  Nothing wrong with that business model as long as you don’t wish to sell at Toyota volume level.  De-contenting is not the answer, high quality/reliability is the answer.  Those of us that wish to drive well handling cars are now left with Mazda and Nissan unless we know which boxes to check when we order our cars from GM/Ford/Chrysler.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Educator…

      What category does the Jetta fall into with 115 HP!?
      I suppose the Mazda3…but what Nissan does well against it?

      How can this compete against the new Focus coming?

      Fat chance.

      I visited a VW dealer this week for my 20K service on the Tiguan and saw these all over the lot. Really rather plain looking. All 2.5 and no turbo diesel…the only engine worth getting now.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Handling doesn’t have anything to do with power.  I honestly think that a Hyundai Accent 3 door with a manual transmission would be a blast to drive at high speed down a winding road.  Howling tires and all, like the original Rabbit.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

       

      Educator

      Um, I don’t recall talking about power…but the feature story was exactly about that, or lack of.
      But just to stick with your thought…I can’t imaging what fun you would be imagining with a Hyundai Accent howling down a mountain road with tires screeching.
      Sober?
      This sounds death defying!

      I was more wondering what you thought this car was up against with this new set up.
      You mentioned Mazda and Nissan, but I can’t think of which Nissan.
      I see it as a rental.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      This sounds death defying!
       
      You should see what I used to do with a 1982 Celebrity (first car) regarding howling tires and whipping a 92hp Iron Duke.
       
      How bout an Altima?  I know it’s bigger on the inside but the price is good and the “enthusiast magazines” have said that compared to the competition the handling of the Nissan is practically track car.

      (BTW I know you love your Mazda, and that’s OK. Your the only person I know with an ecobost Lincoln who drives it like I think the engineers intended, or exactly how I would drive it.)

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      @Trailertrash – A Mazda 3 makes 148 hp with 2.0 L by using double overhead cams with variable valve timing.  It’s driving dynamics should be better than the base Jetta as well.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Agree completely, jmo and Dan,
       
      17 years of nothing but VW’s for me so far (and in my family, almost nothing but VW back to 1955 or so).
       
      The 115hp engine was getting lame and anemic by the late 90s. Bringing it back 15 years later is market suicide. The existing business model offered a much better profit potential than aiming at the mass market, but who knows…maybe VW is willing to lose money in the US in order to gain market share.
       
      Sounds stupid to me. VW absolutely had a good thing going, offering the most standard features of any entry-to-mid-level carmaker out there. The poor-man’s BMW. Decontenting their base models can’t possibly help with $30k+ sales of Passat, CC, and the new Phaeton.
       
      Bad, bad moves all around.

    • 0 avatar
      Hank

      Yes, and this and every other car blog I’ve ever read have been told that what seems like several times a week, but the put-the-number-through-a-simple-exchange-rate calculations keep on streaming on.  D’oh!

  • avatar
    mike978

    Educator – that is the point. VW does want to sell Toyota like volumes. Regardless of whether that is a good or bad idea (personally I think bad) is irrelevant since they have set that as the objective. Therefore they know price is the most important to the consumer – just see an earlier article on TTAC about the important (or lack of) of magazines. That said the deal was the most important for 40% of people. Therefore the car needs to be decontented. The Corolla has old technology so if it is good enough for them why not VW (other than we expect more of VW – double standards).
     
    Regarding quality as I posted elsewhere my MkIV Golf and Seat Ibiza (aka VW Polo) were both very reliable so VW’s apparent lack of reliability is probably over done on the anecdotes.
     
    Also I expect the new Focus to out handle the current Mazda 3 – so look there for your next compact.

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      Mike, as the former owner of a Passat, I can tell you that VW’s lack of reliability is more than anecdotal.

    • 0 avatar
      northeaster

      Enough anecdotes constitute a reputation for lack of reliability that will be hard to overcome in the high volume market.

      I really enjoy my 2004 AWD, manual transmission, 1.8T Passat wagon, which is simply an A4 with a more livable back seat and trunk.  And which clocked in about $5k less than the 4 rings version when I bought it.

      But without the Audi-ish interior and mechanical accoutrements, I’d be quite a bit more cranky about the prematurely dead fuel pump and cracking CV boots, coil packs, etc, etc.  

      To the point of not even considering the earnest promises about reliability until there’s about a 4 year record of proof from VAG that things are different.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      JKC – I don`t doubt your anecdote. Just as my anacedote was of two reliable VW based cars. Looking at truedelta VW is a little worse than average but we are talking about typically less than 0.5 extra items per year. Most of those issues are not show stoppers – such as mechanical breakdown.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Mike, as the current owner of two Passats, my anecdotal evidence says that VW’s anecdotal reliability issues are greatly overstated (though not unfounded, especially for people who take their car to the dealer for service).
       
      So there!

  • avatar
    jaje

    I’ve owned several Hondas so I know about ROW getting the goods and US getting watered down versions.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Go look under the ass end of a Civic Si here and a Civic Type-R in the UK… who’s getting the watered-down version now? :)

    • 0 avatar

      Oh come on, you praised a live-axle Mustang to the heavens.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      What do you think you know? The US gets the same version of the Civic that Japan does, and Europe gets an extra inch of rim diameter combined with a solid back axle and no helical LSD. Basically, Honda thinks Europeans aren’t keeping their eyes on the ball. Give them a hatchback riding on 18 inch rims and they feel special, even if it has a rear suspension that US and JDM Civics abandoned decades ago combined with a couple hundred extra pounds of curb weigh and an open differential. Excuse me for writing off US Honda bashers as ignoramuses.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Really? I guess that means you’d take Europe’s 18 inch wheels over the US and JDM Civic’s multilink IRS and helical LSD. It sounds to me like Honda knows their markets, and they think Europeans are smart enought to take Honda badged VWs instead of lighter, better suspended, higher tech, more rigid Civics like the US and Japan. That was sarcasm, in case you’re confused.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      As much as I like a good rear suspension on a new Si, for 2 decades the US version of the Civic Si got either a SOHC VTEC or a detuned DOHC VTEC (EM Civic Si hatchback with shitty 15″ wheels and tires).  Only in a couple years did we get a true DOHC VTEC motor from Honda (96/97 Del Sol VTEC, 99-00 SI).  We asked for it for decades and did our own swaps with oem reliability but it still wasn’t until ’06 did Honda’s good engine come in the standard Si.  TSX in Europe had (at the time) a ground breaking 2.2 turbo diesel engine but never gave it to us here – instead shoehorned in the corporate v6 to make the TSX a slightly smaller TL with a beaked nose.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    According to C/D, the US Jetta GLI will basically be the Euro-spec car with a bigger engine, for about $24k (http://blog.caranddriver.com/european-and-u-s-2011-vw-jettas-the-differences/ ).  Meanwhile, the base Jetta in Europe will go for 20,900 Euro, or over $28k at today’s exchange rates (http://www.informatiiauto.ro/volkswagen-lanseaza-noua-jetta-si-in-europa-de-la-20900-euro-sid6873.html ).  So what we’re really getting is a decontented, cheaper option, plus the real thing at a discount.  Glass = half full, or am I missing something?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I wouldn’t want to pay for repairs on either one, particularly the Twincharger.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      Yeah, first model year on a VW, what could possibly go wrong, right?  I mean, when they “refined” the 2.0 engine for the MkIV Golf/Jetta/Beetle, it only took them three or four years of production to figure out that the reason they burned so much oil was that the piston rings were being installed upside down.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I don’t think VW’s decontenting trick is going to win them much market share in the US. Why buy a VW and take a gamble on reliability when such good choices are available from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and Ford?
    Well, maybe you want a VW so that you can experience their amazing dealerships and customer friendly US headquarters people :).

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      They won’t gain market share and will end up with a crappy lineup of decontented cars.  Even worse, they will have to flood the rental fleets with their heavily-discounted crapmobiles just to maintain market share, as consumers who considered VW in the past as a nicer Honda or an inexpensive Audi will no longer be interested.

  • avatar

    VW is the biggest joke ever. They’ve always treated the US opportunistically, as if it were a great place to dump unwanted excess product from Europe or elsewhere. Their stuff is grossly overpriced and unreliable, they rarely send their most competitive engine choices over here, and then they wonder why their stuff never sells in high volumes? LOL!
     
    Now they think their best bet is selling watered-down second-rate garbage to those “clueless” Americans? Good luck outselling Toyota, chumps.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Abit strong. The GTi is pretty much the same here as in Europe most of the engines so,ld in the US are available in Europe such as the TDi’s and the 2.0T. Of course their is less choice of engine over here – just like there is for every manufacturer. Typically there are 6-8 engines choices for cars like the Astra, Golf and Focus. In the US typically 1-2. That is partially why cars are cheaper here.

      Most American drivers are less discerning than European drivers hence why some companies (wrongly and unfairly) think they can “dump” craptastic product. Just ask Toyota, Honda, and others. They all do it.

    • 0 avatar

      But see, I think companies like VW would be able to sell diesel vehicles in profitable numbers if they actually bothered to bring them over here. I can remember several people I know getting very excited when VW more or less said there’d be a diesel Tiguan heading over some time after launch. These people pretty much said they’d be sold on a Tiguan only with the diesel; they weren’t overly excited about the vehicle if it couldn’t be equipped with one. VW, of course, sat on the idea and never bothered to bring one over, and all these people moved on to buy something else.
       
      Naturally, this creates the vicious cycle that leads to the “Americans don’t buy diesels” mentality. Well, if you never bring em over, how are we gonna buy em? Why did both Honda and Subaru tease us with the idea of bringing decent diesels only to quietly dump the idea and act like it’d never happened?

    • 0 avatar
      vento97

      “Most American drivers are less discerning than European drivers”
      Having served a tour in Germany while in the Air Force,  I would also add “less competent” (drivers) to the “less discerning” statement

  • avatar
    ajla

    I figure that VW hates the North American market and only participates here to keep up appearances.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I’m glad to see I’m not the only person who’s had that same thought.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seriously considered a VW. it seems like they’re going through the motions here, not bringing over anything neat (like the  original Scirocco or Corrado) or ‘cheap and cheery’ (like the Fox or Polo). VW is kind of like Toyota, all business, no party out back… You basically have your choice of Golf variants, Passat variants and a rebadged Chrysler minivan. Oh and the SUVs.
       
      Since I’ve been old enough to drive and own a car (~30 years), VW’s have never been very reliable or inexpensive to purchase or own. Having said that, I still like them, sort of, but never enough to buy one.
       
      Right now, I’m more interested in the soon to arrive FIATs than I am anything from VW.

    • 0 avatar
      Tosh

      But what exactly are those “appearances”? To appear to want to make money by selling things in what used to be the world’s largest car market?

  • avatar
    mpresley

    If I were in the market for a new VW sedan it would have to be the CC, now that the Passat is history.  And why wait for the NMS which, from the reports, will simply be a larger New-Jetta?  It makes more sense to just save a bit and spring for an A4.  There is no compelling reason to by a downmarket, decontented VW, especially one with mediocre wall-flower styling.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      I think that this point is exactly VWoA’s problem (as they see it). They are competing directly against both Honda and Acura in their lineup, and it harms their ability to have a rationally price structured lineup. Right now a Jetta or Golf buyer looks at Passats and Touaregs that they can’t even conceive of affording, while Civic buyers can point to any other car in Honda’s lineup and say, “for a bit more I can move to that body style.”
      They moved the Jetta to price comparability in it’s segment, and they’re moving the base Passat to exist as a possibility just above that, the CC is a flagship model at that point (starting at $28k) and the Tiguan already is price competitive. The odd man out is really the Touareg once all is said and done, and if Chrysler can sell $40k+ Grand Cherokees than I guess it might work for VW as well.

  • avatar
    FJ20ET

    I would drive it…….

    off a cliff. Assuming it ran long enough to get me there.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Totally bogus comparison.  Let the Europeans have their fancy suspensions, their disc brakes, their sophisticated engines and hoity-toity interiors.

    We got cupholders like they can only dream about.  Take that, Franz!

  • avatar
    kkop

    Why quote these prices when you know they can’t be compared directly?
    You could at least take VAT out of the comparison: actual euro price (if we take the UK price and subtract 20% VAT which is what most of Europe charges) is actually around $21,600.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Really, how hard would it be to re-badge the Kizashi and SX4 as VWs? Suzuki corporate must be smart enough to know that their brand is done in North America, and I’m sure VW has enough money to pay off the four remaining Suzuki dealers.
     
    Or at least use the Suzuki 2.4L I4 in place of the 2.0L and 2.5L I5 if we can’t have the good VW engines.
     
    I figure that the fake German cars/powertrains would be better than half-assed purebred ones.

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    We have an 08 Rabbit that I bought new for my daughter. The little beast is a hoot to drive, has never needed a repair of any kind, has quality materials, and was cheap….17K new. The only problem was that they forgot to tell anybody about it, as in non-existent advertising. The 07-10 rabbit example is the path VW needs to follow if they want to build their US business, instead of the early 90′s Hyundai route they have stupidly chosen with the new Jetta.

  • avatar
    DrivnEZ

    Three things I liked about the Jetta: the basic equipment, the turbo diesel engines and the fun factor from the feel of the car on the road.  My last two cars were a 2000 Jetta TDI and a 2009 TDI.
    VWoA does not have much left to attract my attention, but from my buying habits, I should be good for another eight to ten years.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Hmmmm…
    24 out of 25 happy faces on Carsurvey
    Ratings hovering around 9.0 out of 10 on Edmunds
    Average reliability on True Delta…
     
    The Rabbit may indeed be the better value here.

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      It seems that way. We got a lightly used 08 rabbit 4 door last year for a little under 15k. It’s fun to drive, and has alot of bells and whistles I didn’t expect in an semi econo-box (heated seats and a ten speaker sound system).
      Granted, the DSG transmission would be friggin awesome. As I understand it, you can only get that in the Jetta TDI right now (Another awesome car)

      We also got the dealer to throw in “certification”, so we have a warranty that should last us a few years. Lucky us, we seem to have found the rare good vw dealer, and taking it in for maintenance covered under warranty has not yet been an issue.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    The 2.0l Jetta is going to be like the $9990 Versa – if you REALLY, REALLY want one, I am sure a dealership will be able to dig one up somewhere, but they will be few and far between on the lots. The 2.5l is more than adequate for the market segment. If you want multi-link rear suspension, rear disks, and a turbo motor VW will happily sell you a Jetta GLI, which includes all of those features at a higher price. But likely considerably cheaper than the equivalent Euro-zone Jetta. The target market of the pedestrian Jetta will niether know nor care about the difference.

    And as I have pointed out many times on this board – I’ve owned five VWs, and have friends and family with many more – none of us have had anything but excellent ownership experiences with them. Maybe New England is a special pro-European car vortex zone or something. They sure seem to work, and thus sell here, while they don’t seem to work elsewhere.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    Most everyone here agrees that VW’s big problem with product offerings is reliability.  i can definitely attest to that, i would have bought a VW model in a heartbeat if I though they could even produce AVERAGE quality vehicles.  They don’t even have to be Toyota or Honda, but they can’t be rolling lemons.
     
    I greatly prefer the style, handling, interior, image, etc of a VW over a boring Camry or Accord, but I can’t pull the trigger because I’ve heard too many horror stories from reliable sources.
     
    VW seems to think it’s only problem is their percentage of market share.  If you build quality, market share and profits will follow.  Just ask the Japanese.

  • avatar
    Sanchez

    Looking at purchasing power of the median wage earner is telling on where the Jetta fits in the two markets. The median UK wage is 25k pounds. The median US wage is 43k dollars. Excluding income tax, housing and other cost of living issues, which I didn’t feel like looking up, the US Jetta is available to far more of the US population than the UK Jetta is to the UK population and subsequently occupies a much lower position in the pecking order of cars here in the US.

    Plus, the 75th percentile in the UK is a little under 32k pounds, whereas it is around 80k in the US. Since the Jetta is priced as a premium car in the UK and only available to higher wage earners, VW is justified in putting a lot more niceness into it. It’s reputation in the US as being owned by the daughters of upper middle class families I think is most telling about its lack of prestige in the US.

    From what I understand, VW has never made much money here in the US, so it makes sense for them to decontent if their goal is to make more, since they can’t really move the Jetta up market in price. If they are serious about making money in the US, this is really the only option, given their market position here.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Irvine

    Nobody yet mentioned the cultural difference between Europe (and the ROW) and the United States. The Europeans will happily pay good money for a nice small car. In the U.S. small automatically means cheap.
    How many Mercedes A-Class do you see in your neighborhood?

    • 0 avatar
      Sanchez

      While that is true, there are also fewer Europeans that can afford those nice small cars, so most drive crappy small cars. Most everyone drives small cars because of economics and a few drive them because they are about a million times more convenient in European cities. Still, every person I know that has any sort of financial means drives a much larger car (everything from X3 and X5′s to Renault Lagunas/Citroen C5′s). I live in France right now (Lyon) and hardly anyone I know feels like they could go out and buy a new Jetta sized/priced vehicle.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    When I first heard of the $15,900 Jetta, I thought it was a great idea.  Initially I was wondering if this would turn into an issue where VW cvouldn’t build enough of the cars.  I mean Wow, that’s a lot of car for $15,900.

    But like folks here have already stated, the $15,900 is virtually non-existent.  Most dealers will not stock a base Jetta with the 2.0L engine.   Without looking, I can assume that the average Jetta at your dealer is $22,000.  That’s a whopping 50% more than the price they advertise on TV.

    To me, this kind of bait-and-switch advertising is similar to the Sunday newspaper dealer ads that promise a low priced Chevy that’s always already sold when you get there Monday morning.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I saw a bunch of the new Jettas at the local dealer while I was having maintenance done on my 2010 Golf.  I personally liked the stylng… I thought the previous model always looked like a Toyota Corolla (and not in a good way at all).  The new Jetta looks more like an Audi.
    Yeah, the interior materials were a step down but certainly not worse than nearly every other car on the market.  Let’s be honest, Mazda uses hard plastics for their dashboards and I never hear complaints about it because everything fits well.  Our other car is a Mazda5, with hard plastics on the dash, and I can’t remember ever worrying about it (or even touching it) after we bought the car.
    The dealer didn’t have a single 2.0 model, they were all 2.5s which I imagine will represent the vast majority of their inventory, though TDIs remain very popular here in Northern California.
    Every time I predict poor sales for a car because the manufacturer dumbed it down I’ve been proven wrong.  However, that usually comes with an agressive price to match.  The Jetta, other than the base 2.0 models, doesn’t seem to have come down in price at all.  The models I saw were all well over $22k, which will buy you a lot of car these days. (Hyundai Sonata comes to mind).
     

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      I sat in one that was sitting in the showroom at my local dealer while I was having my wife’s Passat serviced. It wasn’t as bad as I feared. The interior looked nice enough. The one thing I noticed was that the switchgear seemed to not be as good as it was before. For example the heater control knobs turned with no resistance; feeling like the Chinese knock-offs you can buy for current cars on the cheap on eBay. I was also a bit disappointed in the Hankook tires.
      While the styling is a bit generic, I think that the non-decontented version sold in Europe would do pretty well here, like most recent VWs have. Okay, we’re a VW family so I’m a bit biased.

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    I presume you realise that the “fancy-pants” European version will cost a whole lot of money in repairs during the life of the car , which most US buyers would not tolerate. The cost of a replacement ECU for that clever dual-clutch gearbbox is enough to scare the living-daylights out of a potential buyer.

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    The one keep saying and no one listens: Leases drive new car sales. RESIDUAL RATES drive lease prices. VW residuals flat-out suck. Honda and Toyota residuals are pretty good. A clever consumer can probably lease a new Venza with decent equipment content for similar to what they’d pay for a Jetta without the optional windshield wipers.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Guess there’s a lot of room at the bottom, and VW doesn’t mind stepping down a bit to nab some of those sales.
     
    I don’t think most buyers would be offended if you told them that the one in Europe had a more sophisticated rear suspension and engine, because if they were really going for German driving dynamics they would be checking out a 1 series at the local BMW dealer. Wouldn’t they?

  • avatar

    Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen multiple comments about manufacturers ‘decontenting’ cars over the course of their model life cycle.  Can someone show me a specific example of two of this happening?  What is the purpose – to keep the MSRP artificially low over time?

  • avatar
    zznalg

    We are supposed to get a fully contented version of the Jetta in ’11 in the form of the GLI. It will be interesting to see how that car bears out. Perhaps VW will try to play both sides of the fence.

  • avatar
    kenwood

    Pffff.  It’s ingenious, really.  VW can now compete with the Japanese imports.  Kids in the US will buy it on price alone and then go put on obnoxious wheels, a super-loud radio and slam it.  VW is mostly right, idiot American consumers won’t notice.

  • avatar
    BDB

    The real winner in all this will be the 2011 Focus. It’s going to be what the Jetta used to be, except reliable.

  • avatar
    carguy

    This is really an odd strategy from VW – usually going upmarket is what improves profitability not competing in the bargain basement. European image or not – at some point this product is going to have to compete with the new Focus and even Scion Tc and that  is going to be an uphill battle. It will also erode their semi-prestige image which will not help them to sell their more upmarket products.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    You want a fancy VW?  Buy an Audi.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I don’t see what the big deal is about this. To make this comparison stick you have to willfully ignore the tdi Sportwagen or the upcoming GLI 2.0T, both of which have different dashboards from the car you lampoon, independent suspensions and far more appealing drivetrains. Hell, the tdi wagon can even run over $27k, and I’d sure as hell rather have one of those than a twincharged 100hp sedan.
     

  • avatar
    tom

    Volkswagen is simply giving American consumers what they want: A cheap, decontented product. What’s the big deal?


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