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New VW Jetta locked in for 2011 launch

More room: Volkswagen's 2011 Jetta has no panels in common with the Golf hatch.

Volkswagen’s roomier Jetta set to be delivered Down Under next year by VW amigos

Volkswagen logo16 Jun 2010

By RON HAMMERTON

VOLKSWAGEN’S new longer, roomier and potentially cheaper Jetta will arrive in Australia next year, sourced from VW’s North American plant in Puebla, Mexico.

Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) has not ruled out coupe and hybrid versions of the Jetta, which was unveiled in sedan form in New York’s Times Square this week as singer Katy Perry belted out a three-song set.

The hybrid Jetta has been confirmed for the US from 2012, but the coupe remains a concept, officially at least.

VGA general manager press and PR Karl Gehling told GoAuto that Jetta production for Australia had already been switched from South Africa to Mexico earlier this year to allow for a ramping up of new Polo five-door production in South Africa.

He said the new model was set to arrive in Australia in 2011, but exact timing, range details and pricing were still to be confirmed.

“The coupe remains a concept, but if it were to go into production, we would certainly consider it,” he said.

Inspired by the New Coupe Concept shown at the Detroit motor show in January, the new Jetta sedan has been removed even further from its Golf origins, with a tip-to-tail makeover that not only includes all-new panels – exclusive to Jetta – but also a 70mm longer wheelbase for improved legroom.

3 center imageFrom top: 2011 VW Jetta sedan. Bottom: VW New Coupe Concept.

Overall length has grown by 90mm, to 4640mm, putting it in the same class as Suzuki’s new Kizashi, but still about 100mm short of mainstream mid-sizers such as the Mazda6, Subaru Liberty and Accord Euro.

VW says the design has shifted so far from Golf that the new Jetta is “just as independent as a CC or Tiguan”.

The elegant but conservatively styled Jetta – aimed squarely at VW’s biggest small-sedan markets in the US and China where it will play a key role in VW’s ambitions to be world number one – brandishes VW’s new design language, with horizontal bar grille and wide shoulders.

In the US, VW has announced a $US16,000 ($A18,532) starting price – a 10 per cent cut on the current entry-level Jetta – that comes via a cost-cutting program at the design and engineering stage.

If the same percentage price cut was applied in Australia, Jetta customers could expect a $3000 sticker trim, placing the base 1.6-litre 77TDI (currently $28,990) around $26,000.

However, they should not get too excited, as Britain’s Autocar is tipping a price rise in its market.

So far this year, Jetta sales are up 6.3 per cent on the first five months of last year in Australia, where the Jetta was given a facelift last November to hold it over until the arrival of the 2011 version.

Last month, the Golf hatchback outsold Jetta by about 10 to one, 1414 to 149.

The North American Jetta will be offered with a four-engine line-up – three petrol and one diesel (Australia’s current range offers five – two petrol, three diesel). The petrol engines include 2.0- and 2.5-litre turbo four-cylinders producing 125kW and 147kW respectively.

The 2.0-litre 103kW direct-injection TDI turbo diesel engine is new to the US line-up, but appears to be a carryover of the current 2.0 TDI used in both the Jetta and Golf in Australia. In Australian-model guise, this engine returns 6.0 litres per 100km fuel economy.

Six engines will be offered in Europe, including a new 1.2-litre TSI low-boost turbo petrol BlueMotion four-cylinder that uses just 5.3L/100km.

Transmissions include both six-speed manual and six- and seven-speed Direct Select Gearbox (DSG), depending on the engine.

Pictures of the interior show a variation on the current Golf MkVI layout, with a two-tone black and beige treatment and typically simple instruments and controls.

The big news is the extra roominess courtesy of the longer wheelbase. VW says rear legroom has grown a healthy 67mm.

VW promises more interior customisation for Jetta buyers to individualise their ride. Up to six airbags are standard, along with ESC and tyre-pressure monitoring.

The Jetta is VW’s biggest-selling model in the US where it is aiming to almost double its sales volume to 400,000 units by 2012. So far this year, VW sales in the US are up 34 per cent – double the improvement of the general market.

Jetta US sales are up 27 per cent, even though the model is now effectively in run-out.

But that almost pales into insignificance when compared with VW’s sales performance in China, where the company and its local partners have just signed off on their 10th factory as they aim to grow production to three million units within four years.

So far this year, VW has sold about 800,000 vehicles in China – up 48 per cent.

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