The revised 2011 VW Jetta, debuted last summer, has been slammed by critics for the heavy de-contenting compared to previous versions. The independent rear suspension is gone, replaced by a semi-independent setup. Rear discs are replaced by rear drums, and the interior, while pleasantly styled, remains a sea of hard plastic. You can’t even get leather seats on the top-of-the-line models, and that’s just plain bizarre. Given the car’s low price of admission (it now starts at just $15,995), none of these changes are particularly surprising, but they do make the Jetta less appealing than others in the segment. Or do they? The critics may not be enamored with the new Jetta, but Volkswagen’s sales numbers seem to prove that buyers are.
Jetta sales in the fourth quarter of 2010 came in some 40% higher than Jetta sales in Q4 2009. Part of this is due to a stronger economy, as nearly all automakers had an improved Q4 in 2010. Still, Volkswagen’s Jonathan Browning tied a lot of the Jetta’s success to entry level customers, particularly those who previously didn’t shop the Jetta because of purchase or maintenance cost concerns. Reinforcing those numbers, 60% of new Jetta buyers were pirated away from another brand, so it’s clear that VW’s message of “affordable German engineering” is getting through to the masses. Landing the customer is only half the battle, though, since customer retention is based largely on brand satisfaction. Is the new Jetta good enough to keep customers coming back to VW? Time will tell.
Source: 4 Wheels News