VW puts faith in new Jetta as it plans to top market
THE country has had a bit of a love affair with the Volkswagen Jetta since it was launched in 1979.
At first it was little more than a booted Golf but over the years it developed its own personality and, despite occasionally being named the Brora and Vento, a sixth generation has now been born.
VW went to Killeen Castle in Meath last Wednesday to launch the Jetta, which is lower and longer than its predecessor and almost strays into Passat territory. There is much more rear legroom and the boot is as massive as always.
The company will be returning to Killeen later in the year when it sponsors the Solheim Cup, which is the Ryder Cup equivalent for women golfers.
VW expects to take a good 11 per cent of the small saloon segment with the Jetta, which should mean about 1,100 sales next year. They have already missed 60 per cent of this year's market, which is front-loaded as always. There will be three levels of trim and most sales will be of the 1.4 diesel with manual transmission. However, the cheapest Jetta is the petrol 1.2TSI, starting from €21,985, with diesel starting from €23,725.
The completely newly designed saloon claims to be the best value for money in its class. Its most fuel efficient engine (1.6TDI 105hp) produces a noteworthy 4.5/100km and sits within VRT band A with only 119g/km of C02.
The Jetta launch is part of VW strategy to be top in the Irish market by 2015. It already holds the number two slot to frontrunner Toyota, but sales of the new Ford Focus have yet to fully come on stream. Much of VW's success is built on the big sales of the Golf but the Passat in its new version -- which doesn't appeal aesthetically to all -- is also selling very well.
Overall sales have been helped by the success of VW's own finance company, which now plays a part in almost 25 per cent of real new sales. Some 74 per cent of applications for finance are being granted and the company claims that the rate of 5.9 per cent is probably the "lowest in town". Well, let's says it is very competitive, anyway.
VW is trying to improve its after-sales programme, which has previously being perceived as expensive. A number of initiatives are being rolled out, including the free fitting of bulbs and wipers, complimentary wash and vacuum and the first 15 minutes of service time free.