Well, the consensus is that the new Jetta isn’t the hot property it once was. The car now costs $1,770 less than the entry price of the 2010 model, which translates to $15,995. And Volkswagen’s idea was to make it a bit déclassé in order to compete better in the Civic and Corolla class.
The reviewers, almost to a person, were vocal that this was a bad change: They criticized the 2011’s plasticky, inferior interior; the manually adjustable seats (God forbid); the torsion-beam solid rear axle; and the rear drum brakes (on entry-level models). There’s a good catalog here of what they found wrong with the new car. Worst of all, VW put its old 2-liter, 5-cylinder, 115-hp engine in the base S trim.
Yeah, and guess what? A total of 14,130 Jetta sedans were sold in March 2011 (16,969 including the SportWagen), more than in any month in company history and a 96.9-percent increase over March 2010. Overall, the company saw a 15 percent sales increase over last year. And it is crowing about it.
So the Jetta’s no longer really a “Euro car,” but a more globalized commuter car. Only a few writers seemed to notice the inevitability of this change. Most were just plain skeptical about VW’s (overly?) ambitious goal of selling 800,000 cars in the U.S. by 2018. One claimed to be “in mourning” over the loss of what formerly made the Jetta special.
A commenter on a TDI forum (scroll down to Krfar) made this telling remark: “It is very strange how domestic brands have finally started to improve the interior finish out [sic], and VW is lowering its standard to compete with the Asians.” It’s no longer a matter of corporate pride but of corporate ambition.
The company has finally discovered that its potential buyers are just plain uninterested in the Euro style, the classy interiors, or those subtle differences in performance and handling that most auto critics thought gave VW an edge. Sure, you can still get these things, but only in the higher-level trims.
U.S. News points out another option, which we endorse: buying a used Jetta or a 2010 leftover.
It will have a better engine and interior in comparison to the 2011, though the rear seats won’t be as roomy. With a used car there’s no need to worry about rapid value depreciation once you drive it off the dealer lot… If you opt for a leftover 2010 model, you may be able to get a great discount as dealers have to move them to make way for the 2011s coming their way.
And you know where to find those cars, right? Yes, on DealFinder, and hurry before they’re all gone.
Do you endorse the new strategy Volkswagen takes with the 2011 Jetta?