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    Volkswagen product planners have been making more concerted overtures to North American customers over the last year or so, and their efforts appear to be working. On the strength of new Jetta and Passat models tailored specifically for U.S. customers (read: larger and less costly), VW is poised to reach its best sales year since 1973, says the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

    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.

    How well is Volkswagen doing with its new made-in-America Passat? What if we told you that sales in February were up 14,523.2 percent? Okay, perhaps that isn't the best measure of performance, given that there wasn't actually a 2011 model year Passat. But VW moved 8,189 of the midsize sedans last month after selling 6,318 in January.

    Detroit has the North American Car and Truck of the Year. Chicago? The Family Vehicle of the Year. And for 2012, the winner is the Volkswagen Passat.

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