In spite of its name and the fact that it’s the one of the largest automakers in the world, Americans tend to see Volkswagen as something of a niche manufacturer. Certainly Volkswagen’s reputation in this country is for making cars that conform to our ideas of “European-ness.” Unfortunately for Volkswagen, relatively few Americans want to spend extra for the taut suspension, high-quality interior and refined ambiance of a European car. So, with the 2011 Jetta, Volkswagen decided to give America what it was asking for: more car for less. Sounds hard to resist, right?
It’s all speculation until we get official pricing from VW of North America, but according to Autoblog, the new Jetta will be priced starting “around $16,000″ when it shows up stateside this October. With Chevy’s Cruze starting at $16,995, we face an interesting prospect: VW’s entry sedan might well be cheaper than Chevrolet’s. Of course the base Jetta will continue to be saddled with its predecessor’s agricultural 2.5 liter, but the Cruze’s base 1.8 hasn’t exactly earned many accolades either. Of course the base Cruze comes with a goodly amount of equipment, but it’s got an uphill fight on its hands if the more desirably-branded Jetta pips it on pure price point.
Apparently these press images were embargoed until tomorrow… and yet here they are. But who, you might ask, would risk being boarded by Volkswagen commandos in order to deliver these images to the huddled masses, yearning for a a glimpse of the new blandness? Oh right, it says Auto Express on the picture. According to the embargo-running Brits, this is the first Jetta to be more than a Golf with a trunk: thanks to VW’s new modular architecture, the wheelbase has been extended for more rear-seat legroom. More details when Volkswagen is good and ready, likely sometime tomorrow.
You might need to click through to the gallery to fully grasp the stunning blandness of its New Coupe Concept, which just debuted at the NAIAS. Volkswagen has said again and again that it plans to take over the American market by screwing its loyal followers and selling out for mainstream appeal. The NCC is the apathy-osis of this philosophy, showing an approach to the sports coupe genre that makes the business of car look like a less glamorous offshoot of the packing materials industry. It’s a hybrid. It’s a “poor man’s A5.” It’s a dust bunny to the Scirocco‘s sandstorm. Most of all though, it’s a sign of how misguided VW’s approach to the US market really is.
When I called Las Vegas home, massive towers were going up, traffic was bad (especially on the Blue Diamond Highway), tourists were annoying and gas was cheap. Now, leaving Las Vegas, massive towers are going up, traffic is bad, tourists are annoying and gas is—once again—cheap. But it’s always worth saving a few gallons. After all, that $1 could win you the $1m payout at the Luxor’s giant slot machine. It’s thinking that makes both Sin City and the VW Jetta diesel so great.