• Jul 22, 2009
Volkswagen Jetta 2.5 Special Edition - Click above for hi-res image gallery

Adding a vote of confidence to Mexico's struggling auto industry, Volkswagen has announced that it will begin assembly of a new compact car (working title "New Compact Sedan") in the country next year.

The German automaker will invest about $1 billion in the program, with $400 million of the funds directed towards a new assembly line at its plant in Puebla. The facility currently produces Jetta and New Beetle models – in 2008, a record 450,000 units were produced with about 80 percent of the volume exported.

The news follows the report last year, when Volkswagen announced a $1 billion investment in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to begin production of a mid-size sedan for the North American market. With a capacity of 150,000 vehicles, the Chattanooga assembly plant is scheduled to open in 2011.



[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd]


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  • 34 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      So will this be the Polo or the new one slotted in between the Passat and the Jetta?

      Seems that the horrors of Jettas and Golfs of the past haven't yet visited the current generation. No reason to mess with a good thing if that's the case by switching to a different plant.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ugh... cars from the Puebla plant have historically been the WORST VW'S BUILT. I've owned 30+ VW's in the past 15 years or so.

      The ones from Wolfsburg have been near FLAWLESS. The ones from South America, have been decent, not a lot of problems. The ones from Mexico have been TRASH. Constant problems. Electrical problems, and build quality problems with creaks, missing clips on interior pieces, etc.

      I know I'm only 1 person, but 30 vehicles isn't a terribly small sample size to make an assumption based on what I see. Are the Puebla workers lazier, or less educated, or less motivated than their Brazilian and German counterparts? Who can really say.
        • 5 Years Ago
        PS the 3rd post is a different 'Ian'. 2 different people with the same name. I posted the original post and the 4th post with the rebuttals.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Are the Puebla workers lazier, or less educated, or less motivated"

        Congrats on going down the laundry list of stereotypes.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I can't comment on the abilities of the Mexican workers, what I can say is that the plants in Mexico are generally not as automated as they are in the States or Europe. Because the wages are so low its cheaper to employ people than purchase robots.

        Its also IMHO a fundamental flaw with building vehicles in Mexico for sale in the States regardless of the manufacturer. Ford created a market for his Model T by paying his workers enough that they could afford the product they made. Therefore creating a market.

        With GM etc closing US plants and moving production to "low cost" countries and others like VW going straight there while the US unemployment rate soars, who's going to be able to afford these vehicles.


        • 5 Years Ago
        You are wrong if you see making this Jetta / Bora most is made by robots, production depends only on the supervision that is given to a few parts to be made by people.

        We have a much better quality than they have in Brazil where VW is also produced.

        For example the Nissan plant here has the highest recycling rate and sets an example for plants anywhere in the world.

        GM is shipping here in the best qualified and the production of new models seem to be made in them.

        And if you purchased 30 vehicles, poorly made, just make me think you're a liar or a stupid
      • 5 Years Ago
      "I have multiple friends who own/have owned VWAG vehicles and must continually take them back/have them bought back by the manufacturer because of bad engines, transmissions, and electrics."

      Seriously- 'bought back'? This is a serious statement and to have multiple friends have this happen is highly unlikely. I work on VW/ Audi products so consider myself very familiar with the issues these cars have seen in past.

      What SPECIFIC reliability issues are you speaking of that VW's current offerings experiencing? Please let me know which you are referring to?

      Granted they created some very innovative & noteworthy engines that always lead to the unexpected when new technology is being used. Many people didn't know the 1.8t was designed to be used w/ synthetic oil only and a timing belt change interval wasn't just a recommendation, but a schedule to follow.

      What sales expectations were they expecting from the W8?? I'm curious what you heard about that too. Those were the models that enthusiast would complain about if never made it to the U.S. They made the decision to make a low production specialty model. The Touareg is one Helluva machine that in most cases has a v6 or v8, not the $65k v10 Tdi you mentioned, which was also a very low volume model.

      But please let us know what reliability problems the VW's are experiencing, electronics, then which part of electronics.

      Many potential buyers would benefit from this insight.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "I have multiple friends who own/have owned VWAG vehicles and must continually take them back/have them bought back by the manufacturer because of bad engines, transmissions, and electrics."

        Seriously- 'bought back'? This is a serious statement and to have multiple friends have this happen is highly unlikely. I work on VW/ Audi products so consider myself very familiar with the issues these cars have seen in past.

        What SPECIFIC reliability issues are you speaking of that VW's current offerings experiencing? Please let me know which you are referring to?

        Granted they created some very innovative & noteworthy engines that always lead to the unexpected when new technology is being used. Many people didn't know the 1.8t was designed to be used w/ synthetic oil only and a timing belt change interval wasn't just a recommendation, but a schedule to follow.

        What sales expectations were they expecting from the W8?? I'm curious what you heard about that too. Those were the models that enthusiast would complain about if never made it to the U.S. They made the decision to make a low production specialty model. The Touareg is one Helluva machine that in most cases has a v6 or v8, not the $65k v10 Tdi you mentioned, which was also a very low volume model.

        But please let us know what reliability problems the VW's are experiencing, electronics, then which part of electronics.

        Many potential buyers would benefit from this insight.
      • 5 Years Ago
      VW's NCS and NMS programs are as idiotic as their efforts early this decade to push themselves upscale with the Passat W8, Touareg, and Phaeton.

      Honda, Toyota, Ford, and GM are busting their backsides to commonize vehicle platforms across markets to increase economies of scale.

      VW, in pursuit of its goal to be the biggest in the world, as well as sell 800k units in America annually, is, in a down market, going the opposite direction, fielding market-unique platforms. The only thing that could be worse is if they take all the brand equity built up by the Jetta and Passat names and throw them out the window for new names on these American-specific cars.

      I'll bet you anything, if they do change names, they'll be alphanumerics. And witness the brand bungling they did with the Golf IV-Rabbit-Golf VI transition.

      They also run the risk of ruining part of their (slightly premium) appeal by offering American-specific product, rather than cars with European characteristics. It's the latter that makes the current line "cool". If VW tries to be Toyota, they'll alienate their current customers, and won't give pull Toyota buyers from their cars because they won't have Toyota's reliability.

      VW has massive Narcissism problems, and this latest push will not go well for them. When a company starts making volume its top goal over profitability (see: GM, Toyota), bad things happen - quality/reliability issues, mainly. And it's not like VW is coming from a position of strength there. Far from it.

      If VW has its heart set on selling 800k units, they should start selling Skodas here to compete on price with the Koreans. The Skoda lineup is critically acclaimed. They're fairly reliable now, to boot.

      But VW's "New Market" idea is nothing short of idiotic.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Good grief, Bman!

        I may be wrong. It is my opinion and not fact. But yes, I believe in MY OWN OPINION. That's why it's my opinion. That's not Narcissism, my friend.

        Care to actually rebut it, rather than simply calling it idiotic, or that I don't know as much as VW's marketing department?

        OBVIOUSLY VW's marketing department is to be trusted...they sold SO MANY Routans, Eoses, Rabbits, Phaetons, and Passat W8s, after all! They were so smart, they tried competing with Audi - with their own luxury brand, earlier this decade. I mean, seriously, VW should be beyond second-guessing!

        How silly of me to question them! It's not like anyone rightfully questions GM's marketing decisions, either.

        Seriously, I'm curious. I've provided reasons why I think their decision is a bad one. Provide me reasons you disagree other than "VW marketing is smarter than you are".

        I'm interested to see why you think VW will succeed where Toyota and Honda have failed in this regard.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's obvious you seem to think you understand VW's marketing approach better than VW themselves and are suggesting you know more than they do when it comes to cross-branding.

        And you're sure that your opinion is the correct one and they will undoubtedly fail.

        If that's not narcissistic, then yes- i'm misunderstanding you in every way.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bman, the NMS/NCS plan is steaming ahead just as it was planned 2 years ago. The article above is evidence of that. As are the articles below:

        http://www.autoblog.com/2008/10/31/vw-discusses-new-midsize-sedan-to-be-built-in-chattanooga/

        http://www.autoblog.com/2009/02/12/first-sketch-emerges-of-volkswagens-new-mid-size-sedan-from-ten/


        You're right...whether they change the names or not is speculative. However, they are building an NA-specific set of vehicles.

        And I don't care whether or not they're weathering the economic storm well or not at present (with non NA-specific models, BTW), it's still an EXPENSIVE thing to design, tool, produce, and try to earn profit from two different vehicles in the same basic size segment.

        They're throwing the advantage they currently have away, which is in large part responsible for their profitability, to go to a market-specific vehicle program that all the money-losing companies are ABANDONING because THEY'RE LOSING MONEY SELLING SEPARATE PLATFORMS FOR SEPARATE MARKETS.

        We'll see how the actual products come out. They may be great and they may be popular. If they're designed to be NA-specific models, they'll probably be bigger, heavier, and softer than the current Euro models. Look at the Euro Accord vs. the American. Look at the Euro Avensis vs. the American Camry.

        Logic dictates that VW sees the sales of the NA Accord and Camry and thinks the NMS will help VW get closer to their 800k annual NA goal than the Euro Passat would. But I have a hard time believing that they'll be too successful since:

        1) The next-gen Accord and Camry will probably be a little smaller, lighter, and more fuel efficient because they share platforms with their Euro counterparts.

        2) Accord and Camry owners are the most brand-loyal in the midsize segment, mostly because of their cars' quality/reliability reputations.

        3) Those Accord/Camry owners who aren't brand-loyal won't have much reason to look at VW because VW doesn't have the reliability reputation. And it's not a perception problem: it's reality.

        Regardless, THEY WON'T BE AS PROFITABLE as they would be selling the same product in Europe AND America, as they do now. Obviously, they think they'll sell enough NA-specific models to offset the extra costs incurred, but I'm skeptical.

        Your Golf/Jetta/TT comment proves that you've misunderstood what I've said.

        Yes, VW shares platforms between its models. That makes good business sense, and they do it well.

        So why sell two Passats on two DIFFERENT platforms in two different countries? Everybody who does this is LOSING money. VW doesn't do it now and they're MAKING money. How much more clear can it be?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow, wtf are you smoking? You've made one of the most bizarre series of comments i've yet to read on AB.

        "VW, in pursuit of its goal to be the biggest in the world, as well as sell 800k units in America annually, is, in a down market, going the opposite direction, fielding market-unique platforms." SO you really think they are that inexperienced.

        "VW has massive Narcissism problems, and this latest push will not go well for them." ...Narcissism problems- ROFL!

        "They also run the risk of ruining part of their (slightly premium) appeal by offering American-specific product, rather than cars with European characteristics."
        ...so now they're purely American?

        "VW's NCS and NMS programs are as idiotic as their efforts early this decade to push themselves upscale with the Passat W8, Touareg, and Phaeton."

        ...SO building a new compact sedan and new mid-size sedan is now "idiotic", where is the similarity to the cars you just mentioned!?

        Truly idiotic comments here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No Bman, you didn't think your post through, actually. You also haven't been following the news about this program.

        See, VW is planning to replace the NA Jetta and Passat with their own NA-specific, unique platforms not related to the next-gen Euro Jetta and Passat. They're planning on making the cars bigger, wider, and softer to appeal more directly to "American tastes". That's what the NMS and NCS projects are all about. They'll probably shelve the names Passat and Jetta, too.

        Meanwhile, Honda, Toyota, and Ford are hard at work commonizing their European and NA platforms to achieve better economies of scale. GM is already there.

        Now, read my comments again.

        If VW replaced the Jetta and Passat with the next-gen Euro Jetta and Passat, they'd keep their loyal customers, continue with the "Das Auto" European appeal, and they'd save money by selling more of the same cars.

        The NMS/NCS plan they have in place now will seriously hurt profitability because they're dividing their volume among two different sets of parts and tooling - the most expensive parts of vehicle production. Not to mention that any intention VW has to out-Toyota Toyota will fail because VW STILL can't get their reliability right.

        Read much?
        http://www.autoblog.com/2007/09/17/vw-of-americas-plan-for-expansion-more-core-less-niche/
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think you need to rethink the agenda, whatever comes out of the NA plant will obviously not conclude the offerings from VW.

        Maybe you can't read: With a billion dollar investment here and a billion there, sounds like somebody is making progress whether you like their product or not. How can you honestly knock that considering the economic conditions.

        Again maybe you haven't been reading- The VAG group has been holding quite well during the big dip, therefore the need for "commonizing their European and NA platforms to achieve better economies of scale" is not the priority. Actually the old Mk4 Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Audi TT proves they were just doing that.

        Way to post a link to a news flash from '07. Maybe you haven't been reading or living for that matter, but just a few things have changed since '07. And after unfortunatley reading your idiotic comments once again, you take leisure assuming many of the details. "They'll probably shelve the names Passat and Jetta, too." "Not to mention that any intention VW has to out-Toyota Toyota will fail because VW STILL can't get their reliability right." "They're planning on making the cars bigger, wider, and softer to appeal more directly to "American tastes" - Oh sure they'll start building Buicks now.

        Go lay down.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wish they would build them in Germany, my Mk4 has alot of fit issues cause it was made in Mexico/south Phoenix.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm pretty sure those issues for the most part have been sorted out with the MKV. The 06 Jetta we have only had to have the radio replaced very early due to the buttons peeling at 10k miles but haven't had any problems since with 47k miles on it now and it's certainly more reliable then my cousin's 01 VR6, that thing has issues. I've seen 07 and newer use a different material then the one in ours so I'm certain that isn't a problem anymore.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think this points to the user, more than the manufacturer. One is ok, two is a coincidence, ¿but 30+?!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jorge - All due respect, but built quality of Mexican produced vehicles is notoriously low. I will agree that the standards are imported. As well, the management is ultimately imported as well. I'll blame the management, not the workers. My father was Mexican and I know his work ethic which is a lot better than what I see around me in much of the United States.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The quality controls and standards come from Germany. Is not like they built VWs here in Mexico with aztec and mayan technology!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Again, Jorge. I've owned 30 VWs. Not 30 MEXICAN VWs. I said the Mexican built ones I've had have been more problematic. Are you saying that the Toyotas that are built in the US, which statistically have a higher recall rate than the Japan built ones, is because the people that buy them, and not the build quality?
      • 5 Years Ago
      OK,

      Having an opinion and questioning the logic on the topic is completely fair, but when a person starts making assumptions and hastily predicting the future based on little outside information, they need to take a step back.

      This is the biggest misconception as of late:

      Accord and Camry owners are the most brand-loyal in the midsize segment, mostly because of their cars' quality/reliability reputations. You need to start doing some research, because many of the most recent loyal customers i've met, speak of these cars having many problems like never before. I'm talking about the guy that's owned 3 or 4 Accords and says his latest model has been in the shop way too frequently and "I wish i hadn't sold the last one." Honda/ Toyota earned a well deserved reputation, but the truth is the latest units aren't the high- mileage masters that they once were.

      Give them a couple more years and we'll see if the trend continues, otherwise buyers will look elsewhere and that old logic will fade fast.

      "OBVIOUSLY VW's marketing department is to be trusted...they sold SO MANY Routans, Eoses, Rabbits, Phaetons, and Passat W8s, after all!"

      Yes, The Routan was a trainwreck that could be seen coming... so they had that one way off base. You keep mentioning the Passat W8, but that model had such very small production numbers and meant for enthusiasts, it doesn't make sense to grade them on units sold. The Eos is fairly low production as well. The Phaeton was a dumb idea, i agree. The really Rabbit hasn't done them too bad, It's just an entry level car anyhow.

      Until they actually make an official announcement on the official details of the 2 cars that will be produced, It's very difficult to make any serious comparisons to anything else... Honda and Toyota included.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're right on the first count.

        But BFD...VW drops an engine option that didn't sell worth a damn anyway...they dropped it YEARS ago, btw, after having only offered it for a year or two. THAT'S sure going to go a long way toward compensating for dividing their volume between two unique platforms!

        And I did enumerate problems with VW reliability. I also showed statistics that CUSTOMERS reported TWICE the problems with their VWs that Toyota customers reported with theirs.

        I don't own a VW. I like to drive my car from time to time, rather than pay jerks like you to (constantly) fix them.

        WHAT I'M SAYING is that VW can lure a certain amount of people to their Euro-type models, people who either don't consider CR and JDP, or who do, but are willing to take their chances. But if they're going after Toyota and Honda volume, they're going to need the reliability record because enough Camry/Accord buyers highly consider CR and JDP to make the MASSIVE sales difference between VW's models and Honda's/Toyota's.

        So you lay down, fanboy. You're becoming tiresome.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, VW was already sharing engines between its models. Honda does this, too. So does everyone else.

        And the JD Power survey shows that VWs average TWICE the problems per vehicle as Toyota's do.

        I don't need to name anything specific for that to be hard evidence, my friend.

        How many VW models does Consumer Reports recommend? Midsize and compact car buyers look at those, and last I checked, VWs rated pretty poorly on reliability from BOTH CR and JDP. That's all most prospective buyers need to know.

        And you can think that VW bucking the trend by duplicating the number of platforms they offer is a good idea all you want. But the fact is that VW is making money NOW because their costs are lower, due in part to the fact that they only have to tool one platform for all markets.

        Toyota, Honda, GM, and Ford have moved away from that because they were LOSING money doing it.

        If you think VW will buck that trend just because they're VW and you've got skin in the game, I think that makes you a fanboy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually you are the one that can't read, just was pointing out the NUMBER of engines available to ONE model. MEANING MANY CONFIGURATIONS AVAILABLE.

        Are you a lawyer by any chance?

        "How many VW models does Consumer Reports recommend? Midsize and compact car buyers look at those, and last I checked, VWs rated pretty poorly on reliability from BOTH CR and JDP. That's all most prospective buyers need to know."

        Strange that they would sell any cars then since CR and JDP must be the end all be all. There must be that many misinformed people just throwing their money away.

        "Skin in the game." No- you really need to lay down this time.

        AND- You still can't name those 'issues' can you which is what this is all based around.

        FAIL.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Passat W8 sales, from the horse's mouth:
        http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6674/is_200210/ai_n26660893/

        VW reliability issues:
        http://www.myvwlemon.com/ubb/Forum13/HTML/000150.html

        JD Power VDS 2009: VW second-to-LAST
        http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pressrelease.aspx?ID=2009043

        And the TDI V10 was such a successful venture that they stopped selling them in America. Must have just run out of V10s, or something!

        Yeah, I had one friend whose electric windows rolled down at random times. Another for whom none of the powerpoints in her car worked, despite the presence of a working fuse. I had one friend who sued VW and they took the car back due to coil pack failures every 70 miles, a transmission failure at 5k, and an engine failure at 10k. He bought a WRX after that and has been happy ever since.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh, and if VW wants higher volume, they should probably engineer their cars to be lower maintenance...on par with Toyota and Honda. Requiring synthetic oil is like requiring premium gas. It represents bad value to the middle-class families that don't have the time or the extra money for maintenance, over an equivalent Honda, Toyota, Chevy or Ford.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, except that I'm merely making an OBSERVATION about the volume end of the midsize car market.

        VW makes more interesting cars than Honda, Toyota, Ford, and Chevy NOW. My problem is, it looks like they're going to water that down to appeal to "American tastes" with their upcoming NA-specific platforms. Again, it's too early to tell, but when any other manufacturer does this, it DOES end up with EXACTLY the cars you describe.

        The JDP link is from their latest survey, showing VWs with TWICE the problems of boring (but better-selling) Toyotas. The Passat W8 link was from when the car was being made, showing a VW exec disappointed with its sales. And I'm sorry if I interpreted "I work on VWs" as "you fix them". That wasn't a logical jump to make at all.

        And I know quite a bit about cars. It seems like you have no idea about what it takes to MAKE one. So go back to your VW-loving fanboy-ness.

        I'd rather have the current lineup of less reliable VWs than what I'm afraid will be NA-pandered VWs that exist solely for the sake of more sales.

        VW: Volume wanted.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Your last comment proves you haven't a clue & you're the exact reason (market segment) that the US built car probably WILL be boring and lifeless, so that any peebrain that doesn't even care much for cars in the first place to want to own one- thereby becoming the flawless & carefree car such as "equivalent Honda, Toyota, Chevy or Ford" that you speak of with mind numbing interiors, soccer mom looks, and probably a uninspired 4 cylinder. So once they eliminate the innovative engines and German driveability, we'll just end-up with more of the same, which what you keep suggesting they build.

        I'm done waiting for your broken record 'reliability 'issues' to come to terms with specifics probably and by the extent of your comments here, shows you know little about cars anyhow. Btw- As for the jerk comment, don't worry i don't repair cars for a living so you'll never have to pay me.

        So you can write whatever you like in response, but i'm done listening to your endless bs. Oh and your links are old as Hell too, at least try and keep your game up to date when trying to make a point.

      • 5 Years Ago
      "I have multiple friends who own/have owned VWAG vehicles and must continually take them back/have them bought back by the manufacturer because of bad engines, transmissions, and electrics."

      Seriously- 'bought back'? This is a serious statement and to have multiple friends have this happen is highly unlikely. I work on VW/ Audi products so consider myself very familiar with the issues these cars have seen in past.

      What SPECIFIC reliability issues are you speaking of that VW's current offerings experiencing? Please let me know which you are referring to?

      Granted they created some very innovative & noteworthy engines that always lead to the unexpected when new technology is being used. Many people didn't know the 1.8t was designed to be used w/ synthetic oil only and a timing belt change interval wasn't just a recommendation, but a schedule to follow.

      What sales expectations were they expecting from the W8?? I'm curious what you heard about that too. Those were the models that enthusiast would complain about if never made it to the U.S. They made the decision to make a low production specialty model. The Touareg is one Helluva machine that in most cases has a v6 or v8, not the $65k v10 Tdi you mentioned, which was also a very low volume model.

      But please let us know what reliability problems the VW's are experiencing, electronics, then which part of electronics.

      Many potential buyers would benefit from this insight.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Since you posted this 3 times, it occurs to me that you might not have seen the answers I gave about my friends' VWs and the article I linked about Passat W8 sales, from a VW exec's mouth in an earlier posting.
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