• Jan 27, 2011
The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta that we get in the United States is a different animal than the one enjoyed throughout Europe. European Jettas are fitted with a multi-link rear suspension setup, upgraded wiring harness to handle more complex optional features and more upscale interior materials. Why don't we get these things? The main answer is cost.

A base Jetta in Germany would cost about $24,000 in the United States, and that is before any taxes are added. That base Jetta also features a less powerful 105-horsepower engine. That is a hefty leap over the North American Jetta's base of $15,995. However, if the new VW Jetta sells well in the States, there is a chance we could start to see some features that the European customers enjoy.

Strong sales would show that the Jetta is in high demand, meaning Volkswagen could realistically introduce the upgraded European features by way of a mid-model change, perhaps by 2014. Will it happen? Somehow, we tend to doubt it... but a lot can happen in three years.

[Source: Inside Line]


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  • 46 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      "German made Jetta" in what universe? Jettas for Germany are built in Puebla, Mexico. The Mexican content is north of 90%. What VW cannot explain is why Mexican built Jettas can't compete with US built Corollas, Altimas and Elantras. The claimed costs associated with better materials, electrical harness and engine are pure BS. In the high volume associated with car production costs are driven largely (with the exception of electronics) to material costs.

      For instance: a plastic molding weighing a few ounces that due to the material or thickness feels "flimsy" and is selected for upgrade.

      1. Changing the base resin or filler materials cost pennies and typically won't require a mold change. There can be expense in reformulating the tinting materials to maintain a color match with other components but this process in now much more science than the art it used to be. Cost - 50 cents.
      2. Adding or widening a reinforcing rib is done in the mold and since it is on the back side the costs are low (less than $25K). This expense spread out over the 500,000 units of the model's life - 20 cents.
      3. To get rid of a greasy or slippery feel you spray it with a rubbery coating. Additional charge - 50 cents.

      All of these changes have no effect on labor as the upgraded part will take just as long to install. If you had to upgrade 20 pieces what is the net? $5?

      The net result is that the difference in a quality interior and a cheap one is far lower than the manufacturers wish to admit. There are many examples of models who received successful interior makeovers at no change is selling price. VW is making a ton of money in Europe because they are able to maintain prices. They keep trying to figure out how to maintain the same margins in the US and will spin any story to support that effort.
      • 3 Years Ago
      So VW's logic is, if we buy the sucky version of the Jetta in the US, they will bring the better features over later??? I'm missing the logic in that. I won't buy anything with a torsion beam suspension period. How much profit are they making off of a lost sale? I respected VW in the past because they were a leader in drive-train technology.

      This is what results when companies attempt to make cheap products in hopes of sales quantity rather than making great products that people are simply willing to pay more for. I for one am willing to pay more for the independent suspension, which I happen to know doesn't add that much expense.

      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd gladly pay the extra money for a Jetta with better suspension, interior, and electronics. I understand that VW wants to raise sales in the US, but the base model US Jetta is nothing to write home about.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Then get a VW Golf. Trunks are useless anyways.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Exactly! And are they trying to tell us that an independent rear suspension, a couple wires, and some pleather interior costs $8,000??? I highly doubt it. They sell them for higher margins in other countries because they can, not because the car is that much more expensive to manufacture.

        They could literally leave everything else the way it is, throw in the independent rear, and it'd be enough of an upgrade for me. As is, it's too much like my Mk4 from 2002; same engine, same suspension type, 9 years advancement? Not likely.
        • 3 Years Ago
        So, the Jetta is subsidized approximately $7,000 (assuming ~$1,000 more component costs for upgrades)? I don't buy that argument.

        I'm not saying, "they're greedy thieves", I'm saying, "why charge less when you don't have to"? It's just not good business to lower the price of your product when it could sell for more. In the US, VW does not have the market share it would like, so they're trying to expand. Therefore, they've lowered their margins as low as they can tolerate and still break even. By doing this, they hope to sell more vehicles, and gain loyal customers that will use their service departments and buy more cars, etc. from them in the future. That price difference is an investment in the American market.

        Besides, if it does cost more to build it elsewhere, why not just build them to that spec here? They have the factories... there's nothing stopping them from putting in an independent rear or a new wiring harness here. They just went a little too far on the cheap.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Beavboy,

        Maybe not of subsidies, but of tax? You bet. According to this article, Finland pays a 90% tax on their automobiles. They're the most extreme example, but across the board the taxes are far higher than the rather low sales tax (6% in my state) we pay on vehicles.

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/cars-up-to-76-more-expensive-in-uk-than-europe-708036.html
        • 3 Years Ago
        Or just do what I did - buy a Jetta SportWagen instead of a Jetta sedan. It's really just a Golf wagon, so you get the upscale build quality missing from the new U.S. Jetta. Not to mention extra cargo capacity. :)
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've had 4 VW's. 2 gti's a jetta and a Passat. All had German motors but one had some electronic weirdness like the window switchs randomly reversing up and down or the auto down feature sticking until the car was turned of and on again.

      It was the Jetta - the one built in Mexico (might have been brazil.). Still, it's quality that makes VW struggle to charge premium $$$. People are afraid of them.

      Its a small survey but it was my experience.
      • 3 Years Ago
      i just bought my Jetta SEL - roughly $23k - i don't want a base model anything! i have a nav system, heated seats, a sunroof and a lot of other nice options - i really wanted the TDI - but because they sell everyone they get in just a day or two - there is not a lot of negotiation on those.
      i love this car - huge trunk, great room on the inside
      my last 2 new cars were both Avalons - this is a comparable car at a MUCH cheaper price - i am not saying the same as an avalon - but it is comparable.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Holy unbridled speculation Batman! In the library this article would be found in the fiction section.
      • 3 Years Ago
      VW really dropped the ball on this one, that's what happens when you care more about quantity than quality. My sister a veedubber all her life just traded her Golf in for a Mazda 3, the Mazda is a much better car all around with more features and better quality for about the same price.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like how the new Jetta looks...clean and simple and to the point. I kno about of people where calling it boring and bland..


      I looks nice and clean and I understand the design... I much rather this then harsh styling of the Hyundai Sonata.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I think that's the exact reason why the will not sell in the US: too simple.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Who started this rumor/possibility anyway???

      VW or JG





      BTW, that new VW Jetta looks good IMO, but I'm not impressed with the downgrades...
      • 3 Years Ago
      How the heck does VW still maintain an image of quality? There are countless stories of cruddy quality, dull dynamics, poor customer service and expensive and ineffectual aftercare; almost anybody who has owned a VW in the last 10 years will confirm this! Consider their current range is as dull as ditchwater and they still haven't fixed the problems with their dealers, VW's aim to become the biggest car maker in the world seems optimistic at best.

      I know I'll never buy another German "quality" car again!
      • 3 Years Ago
      So, if the car sells well, they'll upgrade it? And if it doesn't, what then? Cheapen it some more?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wolfsburg Edition?
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