QOTD: Feeling the Refresh Blues?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Today, Volkswagen made publics the announcement of the refreshed 2025 Jetta and Jetta GLI.

The refresh is, as I wrote, quite minor.

Which got me wondering -- does a mild refresh move the needle for you, the car buyer?

Especially when mechanical changes are limited?

I don't mean to pick on VW here -- every manufacturer serves up mild refreshes in which outside of small styling changes, the car doesn't change much. And in fairness to VW, there is a small but noticeable price change for the base car, there's no more manual for the base car, and certain desirable comfort and convenience features are now available on lower trims. So there is news here.

No, I am not picking on VW -- it's just the most recent mild refresh I've written about. And I get why refreshes are done -- the exterior design tweaks give a vehicle fresh looks so that the style doesn't get stale. This is especially necessary since the days of major changes each model year died decades ago, thanks to regulations and related costs.

That said, as a car shopper, does it matter to you? Or maybe the extent to which the vehicle is changed matters?

Going back to the Jetta again, perhaps the change in base price or feature availability makes a difference and a shopper might hold off from buying the 2024 model in favor of the 2025. On the other hand, there might some hard-core stick-shift enthusiast out there who can't afford a GLI who will be running out to snag a manual base Jetta before they sell out. Of course, if there were more of the latter perhaps the manual would carry over. But I digress.

OK, let's reset before I get too off track. I ask of you, the B and B -- does a mild refresh to any given model affect your possible purchase plans, one way or another?

[Image: Volkswagen]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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3 of 23 comments
  • Eric Eric on Jun 27, 2024
    In my case, I just no longer care. I have my small collection that I will keep. Everyday transportation is whatever used car I can pick up cheap. The manufacturers have lost many of us who just want good cars at reasonable prices. Add to the mixture a government out of control with regulations, out if sight insurance costs, and I'm afraid the industry we grew up with will no longer exist and about the only thing that will be allowed to change is the color.
  • Cprescott Cprescott on Jun 27, 2024
    I remember in my youth when Fall meant something new in the showroom and there was excitement about must see. Now it seems like all we get are even uglier Toyoduhs and Honduhs, tacky Subarus with even more hideous dark grey cladding, and Mazduhs that are outrageously priced with fake luxury look. About the only companies that speed up change is Hyundai and Kia.
  • SCE to AUX The original Capri was beautiful. The abomination from the 90s was no Capri, and neither is this.It looks good, but too similar to a Polestar. And what's with the whacked price?
  • Rover Sig Absolutely not. Ever.
  • EBFlex No. I buy as little Chinese products as possible.
  • John "...often in a state of complete disarray on the roads" What does that mean? Many examples in poor repair? Talk about awful writing.
  • Varezhka Saving sedans in US or globally? Right now around half of the global sedan sales is in China, just under a quarter in North America, and the remaining quarter distributed around the rest of the world. So for a sedan to stay around they must sell well in both China and North America (BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda) or just extremely well in China (VW/Audi and Nissan). For everyone else, the writing is on the wall. There’s also a niche of subcompact sedans in SE Asia and India but I believe those are being replaced by SUVs too.