From the 3 November 2010 edition of Autocar UK:
Volkswagen’s European-Spec Jettas will get more sophisticated underpinnings than their US cousins when they reach UK dealers in the first quarter of next year.
While US Jettas make do with a simple torsion beam set-up at the rear, European versions get a four-link system similar to the one used on the Golf. The system differs from that of the outgoing Jetta, too, because the car now sports a wider rear track as well as revised springs and dampers.
European buyers can choose from a range of VW’s TSI and TDI engines. Petrol units include a 104 bhp 1.2 TSI and 120 bhp 1.4 TSI options while the diesels are a 104 bhp 1.6 TDI and a 2.0 TDI with either a 138 bhp or 168 bhp. A range of manual and DSG gearboxes are also on offer.
Other changes for the European model include the adoption of electro-mechanical steering system as standard.
European Jettas will also get higher-quality materials and trims for their cabins. Three spec levels will be offered in the UK: S, SE and Sport. Standard kit will include six airbags and ESP.
The new Jetta will be built at VW’s Puebla plant in Mexico, also the production base for the firm’s next Beetle. UK prices are expected to start from around £17,000, similar to today’s car.
Okay, so in Europe and the UK, customers get a brand new car with the same high quality for the same price. In the US, we get a lower price with diminished quality so VW can (supposedly) compete with a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla.
Down the tubes are decades of positioning the VW brand as a step above the lower Japanese competition. You got great German engineering and cabin quality (not to mention a choice of upscale options) for just a bit more than the competition. Way to go, VW, throw mud in the face of your devoted fan base.