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

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
vw s bringing a new jetta to detroit still won t outsell the honda civic

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]

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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.

  • Jerry Hightower I'd like to see a true hardtop.
  • Jerry Hightower I'd like to see a true hardtop
  • 28-Cars-Later "Six-thousand dollars get you in the door."You just cost me six thousand dollars! And one Cadillac.
  • 28-Cars-Later Kudos to the Mazda team on the attractive front end, though the lack of front bumper is still detention after class. Rest of it is also visually appealing, its shocking me how good this looks and how bad Honda (and to an extent Toyota's) styling is in comparison.
  • Slyons My guess is they keep the 2.0 liter they have now with minor tweaks, and shoehorn in the 48V mild hybrid system that just debuted in the CX-90. Should allow for all the regular fun of wringing out the 4 cyl and bump the fuel mileage up at least a couple points. I don't think we'll see a major evolution of the drivetrain until the next next model (NF?).