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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Earlier, we detailed Volkswagen‘s changes to its 2013 lineup which included the addition of the 2013 Jetta Hybrid. And just like that, it’s old news as Rainer Michel, Vice President of Product Marketing and Strategy at Volkswagen of America, spilled some details on what the 2014 Jetta will be equipped with.
The Volkswagen Jetta will see a new top-of-the-line trim level called the SEL Plus later this year, though the more exciting news is that Volkswagen plans to replace its 2.5-liter inline-four with a 1.8-liter turbo-four next year.
The new high-end SEL Plus trim will see softer-touch materials in the interior, and like the GLI model, the American counterpart will more closely resemble all the upgrades and refinements seen in the European version, including electric power steering.
The U.S. could have a plug-in hybrid from Volkswagen in the relatively near future. The company already has a hybrid Jetta on the way for the 2013 model year, but this version of the car would take electrical implementation to the next level.
We’ve known about the possibility of a plug-in hybrid for quite some time, but details have been sketchy at best. Watching each automaker deal with the growing demand for fuel efficiency has been interesting to say the least, but for the most part Volkswagen remained firmly in the diesel segment. That’s all set to change with the 2013 model year marking the hybrid Jetta’s release, but that isn’t the end of the story according to Car and Driver.
An article they published suggests that the fabled plug-in hybrid we reported briefly back in May of last year is relatively close to release. They report that the car will feature the same 1.4-liter turbocharged inline four cylinder making 150 hp. Of course, the plug-in will have, well, a place to put a charging cable meant to replenish the larger battery paired to the car’s electric motor.
Though it isn’t clear which car will surface with the plug-in setup, a Volkswagen executive told Car and Driver that it will be in a mass market segment: in other words one of their top sellers. That means something along the lines of the Jetta, Passat or Beetle, though we don’t know which yet.
[Source: Car and Driver]
Congratulations are in order for Volkswagen. The Routan has just earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award, making it the ninth Volkswagen vehicle to receive this rating. This also means that Volkswagen has received the highest number of IIHS awards for vehicle safety.
Helping them reach this coveted spot, Volkswagen scored high marks with 2011 models including Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, CC, Passat, Tiguan, Touareg, Golf and GTI. To drive away with a Top Safety Pick award, vehicles must earn a rating of Good in the IIHS crash-test series, which includes front, side and rear crash tests, as well as pass the roof-strength test. That means that these VW vehicles provide the best overall protection in the most common accident situations.
“We’re delighted that the Routan has been given this prestigious award. We are even more delighted that Volkswagen now leads the American automotive industry with nine Top Safety Picks,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “This is the reward for all the hard work we continually put in the development of new technologies for our cars.”
Volkswagen‘s plan to build the handsome Jetta coupe have been tossed. As the capacity at the Puebla, Mexico plant is already up to its brim with the Jetta wagon, Golf, and Beetle, there simply isn’t any more room for an addition model to be assembled. Moreover, the Mexico plant anticipates production of the Beetle convertible as well.
Filing for a Jetta Coupe patent last year, Volkswagen’s original plan was to offer a package that would compete against the Honda Civic coupe and to fill in the void left by their decision to not bring the Scirocco to North America. First unveiled at the 2010 North American International Auto Show as the NCC concept, the coupe would’ve had a 7-speed dual-clutchgearbox as well as various engine trims ranging from a diesel to the 2.0 TSI found in the GTI.
It really is a shame that the Puebla, Mexico plant couldn’t be anymore accommodating as there could have really been a market for this attractive design. Perhaps this decision will reopen the debate about the Scirocco R making its way to America?
GALLERY: Volkswagon NCC Concept
[Source: Car and Driver]
The Mustangs in question are those from the 2011 and 2012 model year equipped with a manual transmission, with reports from owners stating an inability to shift into gears while merging into high speed traffic or while turning left across oncoming traffic. A total of 32 complaints have gone through NHTSA on the Mustang.
On the Volkswagen Jettas equipped with TDI, seven complaints have been filed alleging a leak from the fuel line to the fuel injector. NHTSA has also received one complaint from a VW Golf equipped with the 2.0L TDI. Incidents are being reported between 2,470 to 7,764 miles and could impact 40,000 Jetta TDI vehicles.
Both of these cases may or may not result in recalls.
[Source: Detroit News]
General Motors has officially confirmed that there will be a diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze compact car in the U.S, planned for introduction in 2013. The current Chevrolet Cruze Eco is rated at around 40 mpg on the highway, so the diesel would have to deliver significantly better fuel efficiency than that to justify a higher-price. GM CEO Dan Akerson commented on the diesel variant, ”I drove it the other day. It is great, these new diesels are quiet. Should make it in the low- to mid-40s, and that’s with an automatic,”.
Diesel engines on average get 20 percent to 40 percent better mileage than similar-sized gasoline engines but lately, diesel fuel in the U.S has averaged 5 percent to 10 percent more than regular gas. Diesel engines are also costlier than gas engies, and require complex emissions gear, upping the price of diesel vehicles. GM wouldnt release anything pertaining to the price or give other details about the diesel Cruze because production is more than a year away however, a Jetta diesel with an automatic costs $24,865 so the Cruze is likely to be competitively priced.
Check out Cruze Talk forums for more info
[Source: USA Today]
Volkswagen shifted their sales strategy last fall when they lowered the price of their 2011 Jetta by $1,600. New buyers became more attracted to the vehicle and sales vastly improved. June’s combined U.S sales jumped 88 percent for the wagon and the sedan even with a price hike of $500 set last April.
June was actually the Jetta’s best month with 17,105 sales. The last six month sales period also improved by 66 percent hitting 91,752 units sold.
Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America was interview and he said: Jetta’s lower base price attracted new customers and the average transaction price increased. He also said, ”We are selling more units above $19,000 than ever before”.
VW has figured out the formula after decades of trial and error as to what Americans want. VW will also be testing this formula for the U.S built, redesigned 2013 Passat arriving in fall.
[Source: Automotive News]
Volkswagen wants to produce the Tiguan SUV model in North America in an effort to slash production costs on the compact crossover. VW is already producing the Jetta and Passat in North America and is considering moving production of the Tiguan, according to a report by WirtschaftsWocke magazine.
Presently, the Tiguan model is only produced at the Wolfsburg plant in Germany.
The shift in production from Germany to North America will allow VW to guard against exchange rate fluctuations that can eat away at profits, analysts said.
Producing Volkswagens in the U.S will also allow the automaker to keep closer track of changing tastes in the world’s second largest auto market, where consumer trends often originate.
It is unclear whether the Tiguan will be produced at the Chattanooga, Tennessee plant (currently VWs only plan in North America), however, production is scheduled to rise to 150,000 vehicles annually by 2012.
Since the launch of the redesigned Volkswagen Jetta, registrations among new owners have soared, suggesting that the newer, more affordable Jetta is a home run with consumers.
The Jetta has climbed almost 61% during the first two months of this year compared to over a year ago. In those two months, 20,272 Jettas were registered and made up 57% of all VW’s sold within that time frame.
Volkswagen Golf registration is also improving, however, other VW vehicles are declining in registration. The CC, New Beetle and Passat are all struggling vehicles within the VW line up. The decline of all VW cars other than the Jetta and Golf is so substantial that VW car registration in January and February was up only 25% compared to 32% rise in the car registration industry. Volkswagen will need to build their sales in the Jetta as much as possible in order to attain the 800,000 VW badged unit registrations by 2018.
[Source: The Polk Blog]
Improved sales in the first quarter of 2011 in the subcompact and compact segments has accounted for better average fuel economy among light vehicles. The average fuel consumption of light vehicles in the United States is 22.7 mpg, representing a 1.9 percent jump over the average fuel economy of light vehicles in the first quarter of 2010. The first quarter figure also is a 2.8 percent increase over last year’s third- quarter results.
The small car segment comprised 19.4 percent of total vehicle sales in the US in the first quarter of 2011. The rising cost of fuel has propelled and boosted vehicles such as the redesigned Hyundai Elantra, Volkswagen Jetta and Chevrolet Cruze.
[Source: Autoblog Green]
The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta just got a lower base price, but it all came at a cost: a lower ranking to boot. Among small sedans, the Jetta came in dead last among its competitors in a Consumer Reports test.
The $15,995 base price meant that VW skimped on minor details such as the interior and suspension, resulting in a laundry list of faults—shoddy handling, lack of cornering grip, cheap interior plastics and finish, a long braking distance, a reluctant transmission, and a 2.5-liter five-cylinder that doesn’t let you forget the $15,995 base price. Consumer Reports put it simply, “a shadow of the agile, well-finished car it once was.”
Some of the other cars tested were the equally-new Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra: the Cruze received a midpack Very Good rating, while the Elantra was the overall winner with CR’s official recommendation.
Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Volkswagen Jetta review here
So what exactly do you do when a manufacturer doesn’t sell what you want? You build it of course. Front end conversions are nothing new to report, some are done right and some… not so much. But this one we’re huge fans of, especially since it’s on a platform that wouldn’t be the first thing that pops up in our head.
Recently Volkswagen refreshed the Jetta SportWagen to the MK6 generation with a sleeker front end design. So naturally it wouldn’t be a surprise that MK5 owners would look towards this front end conversion to refresh the look of their car. But now Volkswagen also offers the MK6 Golf R, with a front end that’s leaps and bounds more aggressive than anything a Jetta has to offer. So why not blend the best of all worlds?
This enthusiast out of Japan did just that. He ordered up the front fenders, hood, headlights and bumper from a MK6 Golf R and converted his MK5 Jetta SportWagen with it. He also added his own little touches, extended the hood line to subtly cover the front grille, giving it a slightly even more aggressive style to the entire project.
The end result is something we would love to see coming straight off Volkswagen’s production line. Wagon customizing and tuning has always been interesting to many – it’s one of those things none of us would admit to wanting to do, but deep down we know we’d rock that.
Now if only it also came with a 265-hp turbocharged engine and AWD.
GALLERY: Volkswagen MK5 Jetta Sportwagen With MK6 Golf Front End
[Source: Jon Sibal]
Next generation of original Jetta to be offered in GLI trim as well
Volkswagen has confirmed that the company’s new compact sedan will retain the Jetta badge. Until now it has been known only as NCS (New Compact sedan) and is part of a two-pronged attack that Volkswagen will be making on the U.S. market (and on Toyota). Volkswagen plans to increase almost four-fold, growing its sales from 220,000 to roughly 800,000 units by 2018.
A new version of the Jetta will also be offered but only in GLI trim, once the new version of the traditional Jetta debuts. The new Jetta will arrive in June of 2010.
The second part of VW’s plan involves the NMS (New Mid-Size Sedan), which will debut at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. It will be larger, less-premium than the company’s current mid-sized sedan (the Passat). It will also be less expensive as both it and the new Jetta will be manufactured at VW’s new Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant. Despite previous reports to the contrary, VW has not yet confirmed if it will then eliminate the current Passat from the North American market. In all likelihood, the Passat isn’t likely to survive.
According to a report in Car & Driver, Volkswagen continues to be indecisive on the future of the Polo for the U.S., despite the recent introduction of the Ford Fiesta and Mazda2. VW North America boss Stefan Jacoby did, however, tell C&D that the return of the Phaeton is likely for 2014 (something that has already been reported). He also dropped an important bit of new info - the German automaker is looking to show a new notchback coupe concept in the near future with a series production version in mind. Could this be a competitor to the Toyota FT-86?