Volkswagen springboards US market plans with new Jetta

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Volkswagen has unveiled its seventh-generation Jetta saloon at the Detroit Motor Show as it realigns its North American strategy.

VW's Dr Diess presenting the new VW Jetta.

Dr Herbert Diess presenting the new VW Jetta, a core element of VW’s brand campaign in North America.

Now specifically tailored for the US market with revised styling and assistance systems after being axed from VW’s UK line-up last year, the latest Jetta was hailed at the show as “key to our future success in the United States” by Dr Herbert Diess, Volkswagen Brand CEO.

“Together with Golf, Passat and Beetle, the Jetta is one of our most popular Volkswagens – and the number one Volkswagen in the US,” he added. “We have re-engineered it 100%, taking it to a new level.”

Also announcing plans to become a key volume supper in North America, Dr Diess said the company will invest more than $3.3bn (2.8 billion euros) overall in North America over the next three years. Some $1.2bn (1 billion euros) of this will go toward projects in the US. The aim is for the Volkswagen brand to achieve a break-even in terms of operating profits in North America by 2020.

The plan is to launch at least two new models each year in the US market going forward, building on the new Atlas midsize SUV, long-wheelbase Tiguan – sold as the Tiguan Allspace in Europe – and refreshed, longer range e-Golf.

As well as the new Jetta, the Arteon will be launched in America this year, with the new Passat to follow in 2019. Additional SUV models, based on the MQB architecture, will follow.

Meanwhile the first of a new family of full battery electric vehicles will launch in the US in 2020 in the form of an SUV based on the newly developed modular electric drive matrix (MEB).

The new Jetta will launch in Mexico in the first quarter of this year, with the market launch in the USA to follow in the second quarter. New features include four-door coupé styling with an improved drag coefficient that makes it around 10% more aerodynamic, as well as latest VW driver assistance systems such as Front Assist and the Blind Spot Monitor, which come as standard on many specs. The Jetta also gets the digital Active Info Display seen on models including the Golf and the Arteon, and updated infotainment systems and a 400-watt sound system from US audio specialist Beats by Dre.

One engine will be offered at launch: a 150hp 1.4 TSI, which comes with a standard six-speed manual or can be specified with a newly developed eight-speed auto.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 14 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie works across the magazine portfolio and updates the company websites with daily news, interviews and road test content.