MUNICH -- European buyers will get a more costly and more upscale version of Volkswagen's new Jetta sedan than North American customers.
The Jetta for Europe is built with “higher value” fittings, said VW development chief Ulrich Hackenberg at the sedan's European launch here.
For example, the European Jetta is equipped with a soft control panel that has a higher quality feel than the hard control panel of the U.S. version.
VW said the European Jettas have a sophisticated four-link suspension system similar to that fitted to the Golf. This is new to the latest model and is not fitted on U.S. models.
The system gives the European Jetta good handling characteristics. In the U.S., by contrast, the car is being delivered with a beam axle that offers greater driving comfort.
Not for students
Hackenberg said the new Jetta should be seen more as a high-value sedan with a definite sporty flair rather than a “student's car” like some of its predecessors.
European buyers will pay a high price for their fancier Jetta.
In Germany, prices for the new, sixth-generation Jetta will begin at 20,900 euros (about $29,000). In the U.S., Jetta prices start at $16,000.
The Jetta went on sale in the U.S. in October and launches in Europe in March, positioned between the Golf and Passat models.
The Jetta is Volkswagen's top-selling model in the U.S., with annual sales of about 110,000 in the country. In Europe where buyers prefer hatchbacks instead of sedans, Jetta sales were just 6,800 in the first eight months, according to market researchers JATO Dynamics, compared with sales of 338,000 for the Golf.
The new Jetta is 90mm longer than the model it replaces at 4640mm, offering rear passengers more legroom.
Frugal diesel for Europe
In Europe, the Jetta will be sold with a broad range of gasoline and diesel engines. The most fuel efficient version of the 1.6-liter diesel engine, which has modifications including stop/start and battery regeneration, uses 4.2 liters of diesel per 100 km and has CO2 emissions of 109 g/km CO2.
North American buyers are offered one diesel, a 140-hp, 2.0-liter unit, as well as 2.0-liter or 2.5-liter gasoline engines.
The sedan is built for European and North American markets in VW's factory in Puebla, Mexico. It will also be manufactured in China as well, starting in 2011.