By on March 8, 2011

China’s FAW-Volkswagen joint venture is celebrating twenty years and two million units of the Volkswagen Jetta III, with a “2 million” special edition featuring “special paint and a more luxurious interior” according to But will the Two Million Edition swath the aged Jetta with even more luxury than the Jetta Millionaire Edition?And when, if ever, will they stop making the old MkIII Jetta? Actually, considering that base versions of the brand new Jetta feature drum brakes, torsion bar rear suspension and ancient, underpowered engines, FAW-VW might just keep the original cranking out for a good while longer.

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22 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: “Proven Technology” Edition...”

  • avatar

    The interior still looks very good, proof that the design was sound.

    • 0 avatar

      The interior has been significantly updated from the original. Unless there is some variation of the Mk II Jetta that they refer to as a Mk III in China, this is very much a Mk II chassis, similar to what was sold in the U.S. between 1985-1992.

    • 0 avatar

      The dashboard is straight from a  ’93-’95 VW Corrado.

  • avatar

    That interior is actually quite a bit different now than what it was in the original mk3 Jetta

  • avatar

    Awesome! A modernized A2 Jetta body with a B4 Passat-like front end and an A3 interior. If they sold it over here, I’d consider buying one. I liked the ’85 and ’89 Jettas I had. (85 was a diesel and the 89 was a TD).
    Although I wonder if they’ve fixed the rust problem with the windshields on those cars…

  • avatar

    That would be the Mk2, guys. Mk3 came out in 1993 for North America.

    The interior in the original was very different and, in my opinion, much nicer. The original front and rear clips fit the car far better, too. I still miss my ’92 Jetta 2 door: light, direct, oversteered on trailing throttle, and despite the shoebox shape and 100 hp engine, surprisingly stable over the ton. After 5 years of ownership, I could drive that car in traffic without having to touch the clutch except from a stop.

  • avatar
    A Caving Ape

    Looks like they updated the interior by digging around in the MKIV parts bin. Still, it looks pretty good. I almost want one.

  • avatar

    If they sold it here at a discount, I’d buy one. I hope they never stop making it. I love cars virtually frozen in time…like the VW Kombi in Brazil. Of course, I also think NYC taxis should be restored Checkers running on CNG…

  • avatar

    I love the Chinese characters on the back; first time I’ve seen that.

  • avatar

    Kind of reminds me of landing in Johannesburg, South Africa about four years ago and being picked up in a brand new “MkI” City Golf!  Imagine a new/old Gold with AC and power windows/door locks and updated interior!  I loved it, and really wished for the same here in the States. 

  • avatar

    Nice to see that they’re still putting ashtrays in Chinese market cars.  Makes sense – Marketplace actually reported this morning that China is now the largest producer of tobacco in the world, with the U.S. coming in a distant fourth in the cancer weed production race.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    The nose job didn’t do it any good.
    I miss cleanly styled cars with great visibility. Modern cars are getting harder to see out of with each generation.

  • avatar

    The Jetta peaked around 1990 in every way: looks, durability, you name it. It was a staid, tough machine with space for 4 tall people and teriffic economy. I’m all for building it till the steel runs out, but the front clip on this thing is heedeeous.

    • 0 avatar

      I loved those MkII Jettas – they were the epitome of nerdy, utilitarian cool.  They’re boxy, but they’re good to steal the line applied to Volvos in Crazy People.  However, good as our ’86 Jetta GTI family hauler was – and it was very good – it was not as durable as my later MkIII or my grandparents’ MkV Jettas have proved to be.  (The lone MkIV in the family was more of a mixed bag.)  That said, the other MkIIs in the family were tanks, and you still see a lot of them around here in the DC area, so on the whole I suspect you are right that they are pretty durable as a whole.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    To me they peaked out as C segment cars when they started getting bigger after the 3rd generation. Bringing back the 3rd gen would be a huge step forward.

  • avatar

    Does China build Plymouth Reliants too? If so, I want one. Man, I miss simple styling.

  • avatar

    Does it use the same (base) engine as the new Jetta?

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    And why shouldn’t they?  As long as people are willing to buy them, as long as they occupy a profitable niche in the price/performance/appeal continuum that persuades 100,000 or so buyers that they are a good deal, why shouldn’t they just keep building them?  I am unconvinced that it is necessary to completely redesign a ‘platform’ every 3 to years….look at Ford with the Panther, Mustang with the Fox….someday someone is going to do a dead-nuts knock off of the early 90’s Civics and Accords and sell a million of them all over again…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  • avatar

    It’s pretty cool that the mk2 (A2) platform just keeps going in China… that interior is an amazing mish-mash of parts from many other VWs old and new!
    I still have my 88 Jetta coupe, would love to park it next to a modern Chinese Jetta to geek out on the differences!

  • avatar

    A friend of mine who owns three houses refuses to give up his 1988 example. Now that his heater core is gone, he is saving car for thr Summer. It’s a tough car, they (VW) don’t build it (current Jettas for North America) like they used to.

  • avatar

    Two of the best cars I ever owned were my ’85 Jetta 2dr and my ’90 Jetta GLI 2.0l 16V.  Simple, reliable, cheap and easy to fix and you could see out of them. Especially the ’85 Jetta – 85hp, crank windows, no A/C, no power steering. Roughly as complicated as an anvil. I think in 4yrs/120K miles of college student abuse it needed a starter, a wheel bearing, and front brakes. And this was a car that I picked up dirt cheap in ’88 because it was “flood damaged”! Only evidence of that ever was the starter motor and a slightly funky/swampy smell if it was parked in the hot sun with the windows rolled up. That car got sold around my circle of friends for 15 years. The 16V was not as simple but a whole lot faster! Still pretty bulletproof.

  • avatar

    I know that you can buy a new XJ Cherokee in China, although you have to wonder if the build quality of it (and this Jetta) is any good.

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