There was a lot of built-up excitement surrounding the larger and less costly 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, but the anticipation deflated among critics when the model's less-than-impressive interior was revealed to the world. Critics chided the cheapened cabin, and quite a few negative reviews followed.

It's tough to argue that in the process of its upsizing, the Jetta's interior wasn't downgraded with lesser plastics and trim. The 2012 Passat does a much better job in this regard, but even then there are some areas where it feels like cost has been taken out of the cabin. But none of that is apparently enough to stop designer Jae Min from taking issue with these characterizations. Ward's Automotive reports that VW's chief U.S. designer claims that the Jetta and Passat interiors were not the victims of cost-cutting. Min claims that the money was simply re-purposed, with money shifting "from here to there." The designer went on to add that the automaker was able to lower the starting price of both vehicles in part because of more flexible vehicle architectures and shifting production from Germany to the States.

While Min sounds convinced that no pennies were pinched, we're not so sure – unless when he says money was shifted "from here to there" he means "from where you can see and feel to where you can't." Regardless of what we think, one statistic is impossible to argue: Jetta sales have shot up 43.9 percent this year and Passat sales have skyrocketed by 80.9 percent. That, ladies and gentlemen, is letting the numbers do the talking.


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  • 85 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Susan
        • 2 Years Ago
        I agree but realistically: who among appliance buyers would care or ever know the difference? If VW is trying to attract millions of buyers, by default many will be transportation appliance buyers. That kind of technical detail really does not affect most of them.
      brgtlm
      • 2 Years Ago
      Someone is following some corporate PR line....
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      raughle1
      • 2 Years Ago
      If they didn't spend less money on the interior, I can't imagine a worse diss on a designer than having people think your design looks cheap when it isn't.
      SpikedLemon
      • 2 Years Ago
      It "wasn't designed in" in the first place is effectively the same thing. Heck: the base model doesn't even have a center arm rest!
      markventure69
      • 2 Years Ago
      I had a 2006 Jetta TDI (loaded) and was anxiously awaiting the 2011's. Imagine how disappointed I was when I went in for a test drive. So many features disappeared and the overall quality (feel and design) has been lessened to the point where I feel sorry for anyone who buys one now. I don't know anything about the new Passat (which I hear is better) but the new Jetta seems like something more akin to what VW used to only sell in third-world countries. What's even more telling is that I keep thinking I see a coworker in the parking garage with (what I keep thinking) is a fairly good looking new one, but its a 2009 Kia Optima instead...
        Dayv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @markventure69
        Try a Golf TDI. The Golfs haven't caught the cost-cutting bug yet, other than the switch to bundled options in trim levels instead of a la carte ordering.
      NightFlight
      • 2 Years Ago
      "VW's chief U.S. designer claims that the Jetta and Passat interiors were not the victims of cost-cutting. Min claims that the money was simply re-purposed, with money shifting "from here to there" Haha. Anyone with eyes and a sense of touch will be able to tell that BOTH the Passat and much more so, the Jetta have been significantly cheapened. The Jetta's interior went from being arguably, one of the very best in the C segment to one of the worst.
        Justin Campanale
        • 2 Years Ago
        @NightFlight
        Dude, the Passat's interior is still very good. Not as good as it used to be, but still better than average. It is the Jetta that has the mdiocre interior materials.
      BB79826
      • 2 Years Ago
      BULL. I'd have more respect for them if they admitted they cut corners. To say they spent the same amount on that interior just implies they have no idea how to run a freaking company. Number 1 in 4 years? Puh-leeze.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Tuga
        • 2 Years Ago
        Well... the Golf VI shares the same interior and it was released in 08 so it kinda was.
      mikelee
      • 2 Years Ago
      How can Jae Min - or anyone at VW - claim to be a 'designer' when VWs are nothing but straight lines? Does using a ruler and t-square qualify those in VWs art department as 'designers'? If so, then what do you call the individuals at Hyundai who pen their cars . . . geniuses?
      AcidTonic
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ok so he says the problem we're complaining about is not the real problem that caused the bad interior that we're complaining about. OK SO IT'S A DIFFERENT REASON, BUT STILL THE SAME PROBLEM. OKay we'll play your way then. We do not like when VW simply re-purposes money shifting "from here to there"! There! Did we complain about the right problem? Jerk.
      robespierex
      • 2 Years Ago
      They look nicer, but feel cheaper, than the old ones. I think some people actually like that cheaper feel; rattley door panels, hard plastic surfaces... feels more familiar to those used to some of their rivals.
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