VW's Bringing a New Jetta to Detroit; Still Won't Outsell the Honda Civic

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

The standard Volkswagen Jetta rarely sets any hearts aflutter, given its sensible and sober styling and insomnia-curing interior. However, it is the marque’s bread-and-butter — its best-selling nameplate by many orders of magnitude, so mention of a redesign deserves notice.

Set to be shown at the Detroit show in January, it’ll likely launch as a 2019 model with new sheetmetal riding on the company’s MQB platform. Images that have surfaced around the ‘net seem to suggest a machine that’s sleeker and more expressive than today’s Jetta.

The above image was secured by Motor1 from the content of a presentation given by VW North America’s chief engineering officer, Matthias Erb, prior to a media event. It shows a sleeker-looking Jetta than the current model, along with a more bulbous nose and a set of rims that totally won’t make production.

Like the Grinch’s heart, the new Jetta will probably grow a couple of pant sizes, as that’s what replacements tend to do (except for the Miata, of course; the Miata is pure, the Miata is life; all hail the Miata). Rumours suggest the next Jetta will have a manual transmission at launch, with other trim variants such as a GLI showing up in due course. There may even be a Jetta R in the works.

This will be the seventh iteration of the Jetta, a car that was once the sedan version of the Golf but now shares precisely zero body panels with the hatchback. A turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder should reappear under the hood of the new car

On VW’s site in the Great White North, a countdown timer is shown alongside a shady image of the 2019 Jetta. The counter shows a date of approximately 38 days from now, placing the reveal smack dab in the middle of the next North American International Auto Show.

Precisely, however, 38 days from now is January 18th. Media days are January 14th to 16th, so we’ll have to wait and see what VW has up its sleeve. In any event, a whole cadre of TTAC writers will be at the show to bring you the news.

The current generation, on sale since the 2011 model year, has seen its sales dip with each 12-month cycle since its introduction. During its first full calendar year on sale, VW moved over 177,000 of the compact sedans in the United States. Last year, VW sold a shade over 121,000; the model is on track to fall short of that number in 2017 with 108,575 Jetta sedans sold through the end of November.

The fact that most American consumers are shunning sedans like an especially virulent leper is not helping the matter. Even the venerable Corolla is unlikely to best last year’s performance of 360,483 sales. In the segment, only the mighty Honda Civic seems poised to significantly build on last year’s numbers; having sold 345,880 year-to-date, there’s a solid chance the Civic will crest the 375,000 mark by December 31st, making it the best sales year in nearly two decades.

[Image: Motor1]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Vehic1 Vehic1 on Dec 11, 2017

    "Still won't outsell the Civic." How many styling changes did Honda have to make over the last very few years to finally claw back to the top spot - however long/briefly that may last? What makers besides Toyota or Honda have had the TOP US car spot recently, for a full year? VW US sales, based more on the Jetta than any other model, are FAR, FAR closer to their 40-year US high (of 2012) than they are to the 40-year low point (of 1993). Obviously, some cranks were rooting for VW's demise from the diesel affair - but it didn't happen, waah; sales are up worldwide.

  • DJM DJM on Dec 12, 2017

    This might just be on my 2020 replacement list. Although that twist beam suspension might be a killer. I narrowed down my choice between Jetta and Civic in the summer of '16. The Jetta won out with it's reserved styling, better interior ergonomics and typical Teutonic instrumentation/switchgear layout. I have the '16 Jetta Highline with all options and the 1.8 TSI. Price was about the same OTD although the 0% VW financing also helped. I'm sure I'll take a bath in resale value vs the Civic though. So far just one issue with a leaking a/c charging port that was swiftly rectified by the Dealership. I had a Jetta 1.4 TSI as a rental and I swear it had more pep off the line than mine. Ran out of steam earlier though. Very sweet mill. Some of the complaints I have read about for the Jetta include numb steering and overly touchy brakes. I was able to adjust that out in the control modules using Ross-Tech vag-com. Now the steering is heavier, which I like and the brake assist is at a lower threshold. An Eibach F and R swaybar tightened the wallowy suspension up. I also added a Dinantronics boost controller, which woke the car up with an additional 40 lbs/ft of torque. I'm a happy owner so far.

  • Mike Audi has been using a3 a4 a5 a6 a7 a8 for a long time and i think it makes sense. But, they are rumored to be changing it all again within a year ir two.
  • Golden2husky Match the tool to the job. This would be ideal for those who have dreadful, traffic filled commutes. I'd certainly go the SE route - wheel sizes are beyond bordering on dumb today and 17s are plenty. Plus the added mileage is a real advantage. I would have been able to commute to work with very little gas usage. The prior Prius' were dreadful to drive - I gave mine back to the fleet guy at work for something else - but this seems like they hit their mark. Now, about that steering wheel and dash design...No mention of the driving aids for improving mileage but I'll assume they are very much like they were in earlier models - which is to say superb. A bit of constructive criticism - on a vehicle like this the reviewer should really get into such systems as mileage is the reason for this car. Just like I would expect to see performance systems such as launch control, etc to be commented on for performance models.
  • Arthur Dailey Rootes Motors actually had a car assembly facility in Scarborough ( a suburb in the east end of Toronto), during the 1950's and early 1960s. It was on the south-west corner of Warden and Eglinton located at 1921 Eglinton Avenue East. The building still exists and you can still see it on Google maps. That part of Scarboro was known as the Golden Mile and also had the Headquarters for VW Canada, and the GM van plant.Also at 2689 Steeles Avenue West in Toronto (the south east corner of Steeles and Petrolia) is what is still shown on Google Maps as 'The Lada Building'. It still has large Lada signs and the Lada logo on the east and west facades of the building. You can see these if you go to the street view. Not sure how much longer they will be there as the building just went up for sale this month. In Canada as well as Ladas and Skodas we also got Dacias. But not Yugos. Canada also got a great many British vehicles until the US-Canada trade pact due to Commonwealth connections. Due to different market demands, Canadians purchased per capita more standards and smaller cars including hatches. Stripped versions, generally small hatchbacks, with manual transmission, windows, door locks and no A/C were known as 'Quebec specials' as our Francophone population had almost European preferences in vehicles. As noted in previous posts, for decades Canadian Pontiacs were actually Chevs with Pontiac bodies and brightwork. This made them comparatively less expensive and therefore Pontiac sold better per capita in Canada than in the USA.
  • Ajla As a single vehicle household with access to an available 120v plug a PHEV works about perfectly. My driving is either under 40 miles or over 275 miles. The annual insurance difference between two car (a $20K ev and $20K ICE) and single car ($40K PHEV) would equal about 8 years of Prius Prime oil changes.
  • Ronin Let's see the actuals first, then we can decide using science.What has been the effect of auto pollution levels since the 70s when pollution control devices were first introduced? Since the 80s when they were increased?How much has auto pollution specifically been reduced since the introduction of hybrid vehicles? Of e-vehicles?We should well be able to measure the benefits by now, by category of engine. We shouldn't have to continue to just guess the benefits. And if we can't specifically and in detail measure the benefits by now, it should make a rational person wonder if there really are any real world benefits.