Volkswagen of America Inc. says the 2011 Jetta will start at around $16,000. By contrast, the 2010 Jetta starts at $17,735. Volkswagen unveiled the new Jetta at a press conference in New York on Tuesday.
Volkswagen's top U.S. executive, Stefan Jacoby, says the company is cutting the price for a simple reason: to sell more cars. Last year, Volkswagen sold about 100,000 Jettas in the U.S. By next year, its goal is to boost sales 20 percent to 30 percent, he says. Volkswagen's total share of the U.S. market was just 2.9 percent in 2009.
The Jetta is a critical car, Jacoby says, because it is the company's most recognizable nameplate behind the Beetle — the car that established Volkswagen in the U.S. more than 50 years ago.
So far this year, Volkswagen has sold about 37,000 Jettas, up 19 percent from the same period last year, according to Autodata Corp. That's slightly better sales growth than the industry overall.
—The new Jetta will be sold with four engine types, including Volkswagen's 2.0-liter "Clean Diesel" TDI engine.
—Volkswagen says the 2011 Jetta will give drivers more space, including an added 2.6 inches in legroom.
— Like the 2010 model, the 2011 Jetta will come in four trims: the base S version, the higher-end SE, the top-of-the-line SEL and the diesel engine TDI.